07/28/10 — Hunt for back-to-school bargains already under way

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Hunt for back-to-school bargains already under way

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 28, 2010 1:46 PM

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Katie Elizabeth Newsome, 11, left, a fifth-grader, and her sister, Samantha Lynn, 7, a second-grader at Fremont STARS, check out a bin of school supplies at Staples. They were shopping with their parents, Frankie and Sandy Newsome of Fremont, and sister, Ashley Nichole, 14, a rising freshman at Charles B. Aycock High School.

The opening of school and the shopping frenzy it ignites are coming up fast, but for Frankie and Sandy Newsome of Fremont now is the time to take advantage of sales and to spread the cost.

The Newsomes start their bargain hunting by looking at newspaper ads that led them to Staples on a recent Sunday afternoon with daughters, Samantha Lynn, 7, a second-grader, and Katie Elizabeth, 11, a fifth-grader at Fremont STARS, and Ashley Nichole, 14, a rising freshman at Charles B. Aycock High School.

Katie said she didn't really didn't like to shop.

"I was just looking around with my mama," she said.

"We try to get the best deals, we are a low-budget family," Newsome said. "They have these 15-cent folders and these 25-cent pens and the way the economy is, you have got to do the best that you can. Every time we look at the paper and every time they have a sale like that we come up here and get it, or try to.

"We go to Walmart, Staples, Walgreens, we look in the paper. Every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday we just glance through the paper and if we find a sale we come up here and get it. You can't beat 25 cent for a pen or pencil. Me and my wife are going to start college, too, this year at Wayne Community College so we have to get school supplies for ourselves, too."

Mrs. Newsome will study accounting and Newsome is working to become air conditioning technician.

It will be several weeks before the store will experience its heaviest shopping, said Gary Carter, Staples general manager.

However, like the Newsomes, people already are taking advantage of special promotions such as the popular one-cent deals that run Sunday through Wednesday during the summer, he said.

The items on special change from week to week and there is a limit of 10 one-cent items for the general public and 25 for teachers. Also, shoppers have to make a $5 minimum purchase to qualify for the deals.

"The one-cent deals have done very well for us," he said. "We have done it for the past two years."

Julie Butler of Mount Olive was shopping with daughters, Courtney, 11, and Whitley, 4, students at Wayne Christian School.

"We start Aug. 9 and we are getting prepared," Mrs. Butler said. "They have to have notebooks and supplies for teachers and extra stuff to take, pencils, colors, markers. They have to have the cases, the fancy bookbags, lunch boxes and everything has got to match."

At Staples they were shopping for notebooks, paper and pencils.

Mrs. Butler said she probably spends at least a $100 at on Courtney between the book bags, notebooks and pencils.

Courtney said she also was looking "stuff for my teachers" like extra markers and pencils and wipes.

"The oldest one wants all of the neat locker attachments," she said. "All the fancy mirrors and marking boards. They put lights in them and mirrors in them, expo boards -- dry erase boards so they can leave each other messages between their friends. We usually have a school list and they know what they want and will pick up different things that they want."

The family had already been to Target where Courtney picked up the locker accessories.

Courtney said she had gotten a dry erase board and mirrors and "stuff like that." She said the board is placed inside her locker and that "my friends write on it." She said it will be the second year she has had one of the boards in her locker.

Courtney said she is ready to go back to school to see friends she has missed seeing during the summer break.

Not unexpectedly, pencils, papers, composition books with designs and the durable folders are big sellers, Carter said. As the school year draws closer, Carter expects the store will see and upswing in electronic such as computers.

One new item that is doing well is the Texas Instruments TI-84 calculator.

"It offers twice the memory of the previous model and comes in colors -- black, silver, pink and blue," he said.

The pink ones sell the best, he said.

Also for second year, a section of the store has been set up and geared towards furnishing a dorm room with chairs, desks and similar items.

For the third consecutive year, DoSomething.org and Staples are teaming up for the annual national Staples/Do Something 101 School Supply Drive.

People may make a donation or collect school supplies and drop them off at Staples, 1101-B Berkeley Plaza, now through Sept. 18. All donations will go to needy students in the Wayne County Public Schools.

Visit www.DoSomething 101.org for more information about school kits.