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Back to School Shopping: What's on the List

Trendy locker décor, sporty backpacks and souped-up staplers are among the favorites.

For retailers and parents alike, the start of August signals the beginning of that annual ritual: back-to-school shopping.

Some of this year’s most sought-after back-to-school items are those that kids can use to spotlight their unique personalities, such as the elementary and middle school trend of customizing individual lockers.

Dubbed “locker looks” by retailers, customizable locker décor runs the gamut from a locker chandelier that illuminates with multiple LED lights to magnetic locker wallpaper or even brightly colored shag rugs.

“Students want to personalize back-to-school supplies…without
spending a small fortune,” said Alison Corcoran, a retail marketing executive with office supply store Staples, a top retail destination for back-to-school supplies.

A Staples spokesperson added that locker items in general and notebooks and memo books with animal prints were especially popular this year.

Other wanted items include tape dispensers shaped as apples or watermelon, fruity memo books, zebra-themed staplers, peanut butter and jelly shaped lunch box adhesive notes and functional yet sporty backpacks.

At the Staples store in Airport Plaza in Farmingdale, a Melville couple was stocking up on traditional school supplies for their two children, one in middle school and one in elementary.

“We bought the usual,” said Lee. “We needed a bunch of binders, notebooks. Staples has a good selection, just about everything we need,” he said, noting that the couple does most of their back-to-school shopping at either Staples or the nearby Target in Melville.

Meanwhile, at the CVS Pharmacy on Main Street in Farmingdale, a manager said that the store’s back-to-school shopping was just getting underway and that the store wasn’t yet fully stocked.

However, a CVS Pharmacy representative said that popular items for this year include dry erase calendars, expanding file cases and recycled school boxes.

“CVS/pharmacy also has other unexpected back to school items such as backpacks, snacks, gadgets and electronics, and a wide selection of back to school gift cards from popular stores including Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath and Beyond, Starbucks, and Amazon.com,” the representative said.

At the One Stop Card and Convenience Store at 296 Main Street in Farmingdale, parents were buying things like crayons, pencils, notebooks and glue sticks, said Gary, the store’s manager.

 “People aren’t buying too much at once, mostly four or five items at a time,” he said. “Most people shop at the big stores like Target, Staples or CVS for school supplies,” he said.

Carlo, owner of Adventure Cycles and Sports at 225 Main Street in Farmingdale said that mostly lights and locks were selling as back-to-school items. “We’re not selling many bikes right now, it’s mainly the locks and lights for kids that are already riding to school,” he said.

Down the road in Plainview, the M.J. Beanz toy store at 345 South Oyster Bay Road confirmed the locker décor trend, reporting strong sales of the locker chandeliers and the rugs.

“The chandeliers and the decorative rugs are selling well,” said Traci, the store’s manager.

She also said that sporty backpacks, water bottles, notebooks and folders were also doing well.

Lennie, manager of Village Pharmacy in Syosset, also spoke enthusiastically about kids dressing their lockers for school.

“It’s more of the girls doing it but décor for lockers this year is hugely popular,” he said.

“I have a big order coming and we will also be selling the chandeliers, wall
paper and rugs along with our usual assortment of binders, 5-subject notebooks and double-sized, 300-page marble composition books.”

Lennie added, “Village Pharmacy will have everything and anything that parents need to send their kids back to school.”

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