August 30, 2008


Families look for back-to-school deals


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cheryl Ely of East Homer looks over a pair of shorts with her son, Chase, a seventh-grader and her niece Emily Groulx while doing back-to-school shopping at Thrifty Shopper in the Groton Avenue Plaza Thursday morning. With budgets tight, many families are shopping at thrift stores to save money on clothes.

By Elaine Hughes
Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Sandy Atkinson of DeRuyter didn’t want to pay $25 for a pair of jeans at the mall, and with a few days left before the beginning of the school year, Atkinson took her four children to a local thrift shop to buy clothes.
“I bought these for $2,” she said, outside Thrifty Shopper on Groton Avenue, holding a pair of jeans that she bought for her son. “I come to this store all the time because the prices are so good.”
With fuel and food prices increasing, more people are turning to discount and thrift stores to buy their back-to-school clothing, crayons and notebooks.
Almost 75 percent of consumers will head to discount stores this year to buy their back-to-school supplies, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation.
Paul LaDolce, spokesman for the Syracuse-based Rescue Mission, said the Thrifty Shopper stores in the region have seen an increase in consumers doing back-to-school shopping.
“Some people are discovering our stores for the first time, and others are just trying to stretch their dollar as far as possible,” LaDolce said. “But our stores have definitely been visited more regularly in recent months.”
On average, families are expected to spend about $595 on back-to-school purchases this year, and altogether, people nationwide will spend $20.1 billion on clothing and school supplies, according to the NRF survey.
Cheryl Ely of East Homer said she spends more money on gasoline and doing some shopping at local thrift stores helps balance her budget.
“I get good deals,” said Ely, who has done back-to-school shopping for her niece and two sons. “The clothing is still pretty nice, too.”
Other local shoppers said they were holding down costs by taking advantage of sales and clearance prices at major retailers.
“I sometimes go to thrift stores, but I also get a lot of things on clearance at Burlington Coat Factory,” said Nicole Constantine of Harford, who will be sending her son to kindergarten this year.
Amanda Bestys of Groton said she did most of the back-to-school shopping for her two children at the local Wal-Mart and Kmart.
“That’s where I found the best prices,” she said.


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