School supplies flying off shelves uptown
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
There was a mad rush for walking and parking space in Half-Way Tree plazas yesterday, especially at book and shoe stores, which have reported heavy traffic and brisk business in the last two weeks as parents seek back-to-school items.
Several stores were offering discounts as they indicated that their doors would remain open each day until the last customer leaves. Store operators reported heavy demand and purchases of kindergarten books and materials, for the three-, four- and five-year-olds.
Hope McCook-Martin, supervisor at Bryan Bookstores Limited in The Springs Plaza, said the traffic has been very heavy in the last two weeks.
"Parents are having a hard time getting three books: Bright Sparks, Book 5; Bright Ideas, Book 5, and Stepping Stones. But the books and materials for kindergarteners and early-childhood students are just flying off the shelves. You can't seem to have enough of those," McCook-Martin told The Sunday Gleaner.
Books in short supply have been ordered, but a delivery and availability date was not definite. The store is offering 15 per cent discount on books, and like other book stores in the plaza, will be open today.
Marcia Reid said she had spent $5,000 on school supplies for her four-year-old grandchild, who is a returning student. Kingston Bookshop was her first stop for textbooks, workbooks, crayons, paints and cartridge paper. She expressed satisfaction that she received all she needed.
At Sangster's Book Stores, young mother Lee-Jay Fletcher said she shopped around for books for her three-year-old daughter.
"So far, I have spent $7,000, but that is minus the shoes, uniform and lunch bag. I called around to the stores and I faxed the list. They put prices on and faxed back. So I knew where the stuff were and also knew which had the most reasonable prices," said Fletcher.
Kemesha Dale, acting manager at Sangster's, said early-childhood and primary material were the fastest-moving items.
"Infant books, phonics, and mathematics books for grades six are disappearing fast. But there are some primary books which parents are asking for a lot and we can't even tell when we will get them," she explained.
Taking children along was proving to benefit the parents, Dale said.
"The children were advising the parents that they did not need to buy particular books because they already had it or it was on a previous book list."
At Kingston Bookshop, retail supervisor Tashana Johnson said the traffic has been very heavy in the last two weeks.
"We are opening today (Saturday) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but really it's until the last customer leaves, even if it's after 4. The traffic is heavy, especially since government-paid workers received their salaries. Teachers, nurses and policemen and women have been doing a lot of shopping. And we have no shortage of books," said Johnson.
Meanwhile, at Payless ShoeSource in the plaza, store manager Sharnet McCalla said shoes for all occasions - but especially school shoes - were moving at great speed.
"School shoes are going fast. It's a good thing we get stock twice per week, that way we can supply the demand. But the traffic has been heavy all week and we expect it to continue for a while," said McCalla.