Local News

From backpacks to slacks, shoppers stock up for back to school

SEBRING - "She's on a mission," Sabrina VanSickle said of one of her daughters who was "hunting" for clothes. This back-to-school shopping mission was headed by Sabrina as she helped her two daughters, Miranda VanSickle and Kaci Benton, who were shopping for their two and three children, respectively. They came from Wauchula to shop at Kmart in the Lakeshore Mall. "They are hitting the deals," Sabrina said. "When you can get the layaway for nothing to start it off with - there you go."
It seemed like stores started advertising their back-to-school deals very soon after the 2012-13 school year ended. But, now with the start of school about a month away, retailers are stocked and primed for the back-to-school rush. Does your child need a rolling back pack? You can get one with a photo of Justin Bieber on it or illustrations of Minnie Mouse, Mario Kart 7 or Marvel Comics characters Thor and Spiderman. Notebooks feature country/pop star Taylor Swift and boy band One Direction. Back in the Kmart clothing department, Kaci held up some of the items she picked out. "I've got this pair; I've got these two and then these two," she said. Miranda responded, "I like them." Miranda's shopping list included skirts, capris, underwear and shirts. She already purchased school supplies for her son Larit, 4, who will be attending voluntary prekindergarten and her daughter, Trinity, 8, who will be in third-grade. Holding up a pastel western-type shirt, Trinity asked her mom, "Can I try this on?" A moment later, Trinity said, "I like this skirt, momma, I am going to try it on." At the other end of the store, Judy Flaherty picked out school supplies for someone she doesn't even know. She explained that each year the Highlands Ridge community donates school supplies to the school district, to be dispersed by teachers to students who need them. "I am getting my supplies of paper, pencils, markers and almost anything that the children might use," Flaherty said. In the clothing department, Ada McGowan, of Sebring, shopped with her granddaughter, Ladarrean Kendricks, 14; and grandson, Timijah Kendricks, 15, who will both be ninth-graders at Sebring High. They are shopping for both back-to-school clothing and school supplies. "We are going to do it all today," McGowan said. "We are probably going to get the shoes a little later, but we are going to try to get all that we can." Ladarrean, a junior varsity football player, pointed out a pair of tan slacks he said he will wear on game days. Timijah picked out a bright lime green blouse and another blouse with white and peach-colored stripes. "I am starting a new wardrobe here," she said. What are the essentials of that new wardrobe? McGowan answered for her granddaughter, "Everything tight ... but not too tight." The Florida Tax Holiday, which suspends sales tax on most clothing and school supplies, will be held Aug. 2 - 4. New this year, there will be no tax on personal computers, tablets, electronic readers and accessories that cost up to $750. mvalero@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5826