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home : features : features March 26, 2015

8/1/2013 9:28:00 AM
Back to School
WHAT STUDENTS WANT: Hello Kitty, superhero-branded supplies are hot commodities
Target team members Jamie Pfeifer and Adam Puertas show off some of the best-selling backpacks for the retailer in the Frontier Village Shopping Center.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Target team members Jamie Pfeifer and Adam Puertas show off some of the best-selling backpacks for the retailer in the Frontier Village Shopping Center.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Patrick Whitehurst
Special to the Tribune

Back to school means shopping - and lots of it.

In the tri-city area, popular school buys include name-brand clothing, character backpacks and as many colored pencils as possible.

Chino Valley resident Patricia Harris has been shopping like crazy for her 12-year-old son Cameron to prepare him for the coming year. Harris drives into Prescott Valley and Prescott for school supplies and clothing, she said.

"My son's in football, so we had to go out and buy brand-new helmets and new clothes, and I had to buy him two new pairs of shoes. Two pairs will last him maybe two months. He's very hard on them," Harris said.

Harris shops at nearly all of the large department stores in the tri-city area.

"He's going into seventh grade and likes name-brand clothes. He wants Fox shirts, (name-brand) shoes, and I always accommodate him. That's what a mom does," she said.

Prescott Valley resident Adam Puertas said supplies for his daughter Emma, 6, cost his family $200 this year. Emma will begin first grade at Coyote Springs Elementary School next week.

"She's really excited for school," he said. "We've bought the basic school supplies and the schools usually give us a list of what to bring. It usually consists of notebook paper, single folders, crayons, colored pencils, a pencil box, glue, non-pointed scissors, and regular pencils. At her age, they like us to get the thicker ones because it's easier for the kids to hold."

He bought Emma a backpack featuring the boy band One Direction.

"She's all about One Direction and Justin Bieber," Puertas said.

Sophia Allen, 5, will be attending kindergarten at Washington Traditional School this year. Like other girls her age, Allen has one desire when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

"I want Hello Kitty scissors," Allen said.

Six-year-old Adalie Feldt said she prefers the essentials. "I got a backpacks, I got some shirts and socks, and my grandmother sent me some clothes," Feldt said.

Target employee Meghan Love said Cherokee and Design brands are popular with girls this year. Design, she said, is a Disney-owned brand.

Cherokee-brand T-shirts and pants also are popular in the boys' section.

When it comes to backpacks, Embark backpacks, a Target brand, and licensed backpacks, featuring Hello Kitty, Minnie Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman and more are disappearing quickly, Love said.

While parents and guardians shop for supplies, Abia Judd Elementary School principal Rosemary Agneessens reminded parents to check the supply lists provided to students at the end of the prior school year. Supply lists can also be found online via the school websites. The main district website can be found online at

Lukas Gallegos, Goodwill Customer Service Supervisor and acting manager, said parents are also seeking second-hand merchandise prior to the start of school.

"On Sundays we have student, teacher and military discounts for people with IDs. Back-to-school shoppers can get 25 percent off. We've seen a lot of people buying school supplies; everybody needs backpacks, everybody needs clothing, and we've also been selling unused notebooks and paper, all sorts of supplies," Gallegos said.

Kmart sales manager Greg Tym said that, besides clothing and stationery supplies, he's seen an upswing in sales of headphones and disinfectant wipes.

"This year, a lot of the school are asking for disinfectant wipes. In the previous years it's been hand sanitizers for personal use. They want the unscented kind. Some schools are asking for headphones. Someone told me that is for using laptops without disrupting the class," Tym said.

Novelty backpacks have also been popular with shoppers.

"The backpack with the Minions from 'Despicable Me 2' has been really hot. The backpack with the snail from the movie 'Turbo' has also been popular. Disney is always popular," Tym said.

For older students, Josette Kubin, owner of Green Monkey Gear and Resale Boutique, said scarves are always a popular choice among teens preparing for fall.

"Because of the uniqueness of where we live in Prescott, it's still pretty warm, so what's popular for little girls is light leggings that can be layered with tunics, tops, skirts, high tops and things like that," Kubin said. "Military-inspired looks are also in and anything with those colors. With boys, skinny jeans are still popular, but also the baggy jeans are popular too."

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