As the hot Texas sun began to heat up everything under it Saturday, the parking places at Sherman’s Town Center and other local shopping areas started to fill with parents on a mission to check items off the back-to-school lists for their offspring.
Stores were filled Saturday with young parents herding kindergartners through their first ever school supply hunt, middle-aged parents sharing their last-ever back-to-school shopping trip with their high school seniors and everyone in between. Most were hoping to score bargains on the weekend set aside by Texas lawmakers to help families by exempting most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes. On average, shoppers stood to save approximately $8 on every $100 they spent.
The holiday continues Sunday.
“We have been to three stores and two had good sales,” said Shelly Millett of Bonham who was in Sherman shopping with her three children and her mother. She said they were just shopping for clothes Saturday and mostly looking for jeans and shirts.
Her son Daniel said he was looking for pants and some shirts, especially athletic shirts, because he can’t wait to get back to football, “and baseball and soccer.” His sister Maegan said she wasn’t looking for any particular style. “She is my tomboy still,” Millett said, “a pair of jeans and a shirt and she is good.”
Younger daughter Madison, however, wanted something a bit more specific and found it. She said her best buy of the day was “a pink shirt,” and a pair of skinny jeans. None of the children had actually thought out their first day of school outfit just yet.
While the Millet children are old hands as back-to-school shopping, some others looking for bargains Saturday were just getting started on their traditions.
Derise Reese of Honey Grove sat on a bench writing down the total from her first store purchases Saturday. She said the day was something special for her. “I don’t take my granddaughter shopping that much, so we are just having fun today.” She said she didn’t really have a budget in mind for the trip or a particular list. She just planned to let her granddaughter Shelby, who will enter kindergarten in Bonham this fall, get the items that catch her eye.
The National Retail Federation said Americans spent around $83.8 billion on back-to-school shopping in 2012 but that amount was expected to be down some this year as parents were expected to hang on to tech purchases from last year.
Alice Hignight of Paris and her daughter Grace drove to Sherman looking for a greater variety than they could find at home. The two said they “just generally wing it,” when it comes to back-to-school shopping. They didn’t make a list or set a budget. Still, Hignight said they were finding things were less expensive than they had anticipated they might be in Sherman. Grace said she doesn’t have a first day of school plan for her wardrobe. She said she will probably just get up that morning and pick something out of her closet.
Ashlan Bock, manager at an accessories store in Town Center, said foot traffic through the store Friday and Saturday was brisk. She said even though not everything in the store qualified for the sales tax discount, people were purchasing items that caught their eye while they looked for items like backpacks that were on the discount list.