After 17 years of business, Play and Learn in Freeport will close its doors. The independently owned and operated store is expected to close by the end of the year.

Company President Tom Purington said the decision to close the store comes at the end of a seven-year lease at their location at 200 Lower Main St.

“This is bittersweet,” Purington said. “Running a small business is a labor of love and we will cherish the friendships and memories.”

Local parents and area teachers have relied on Play and Learn for a unique mixture of specialty toys and classroom teaching resources, he said. The company recognizes closing will leave a void in the community. Customers with existing gift certificates or store credits are urged to redeem them as soon as possible.

Play and Learn will add a new page to its website with regular updates so customers can stay informed about the store closing and special sales. All merchandise, racks, shelves and other store equipment will be sold prior to the store’s closing.