Friday, December 04, 2020

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Back-to-School = Neat-New-Stuff

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Excited or not, it's back-to-school time, and shopping for the annual event is one of the best parts (at least from the student's perspective).  From the parents' and grandparents' point of view, this is a time for both spending and gift giving.

According to the National Retail Federation's Back-to-School Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with kids in grades K-12 plans to spend $630.36 on clothing and supplies, while families with kids in college will spend an average of $899.18.

According to the survey, the amount an average college family plans to spend on dorm or apartment furnishings is up 30 percent from last year.  Not only is spending on dorm furnishings growing, more college kids are living in college housing or dorm rooms: 31.3 percent, in fact, up from 23.9 percent last year.

Andrew Grosky is a sales associate at Page Hardware & Appliance Co. and, because he's also a junior at Guilford High School, Grosky has firsthand knowledge about what students want and need, as well as what parents and grandparents are buying for their students.

"We have different seating options for the dorm room, including a new chair called the 'Bungee Chair'. There are mini fridges, microwaves, portable air conditioner units, surge protectors, and window fans," Grosky says and jokes, "and a lot of alarm clocks to make sure you wake up in the morning to get to class." Pretty impressive for a 7am conversation with a high schooler!

One of the coolest items, literally and figuratively, is "a refrigerator/freezer that stands only about four-and-a-half feet tall.  It's basically a regular fridge just in a smaller form," he says.

"At the front register we have highlighters, pens, pencils, sharpies – anything you could need to write with.  We have labelers, a book light if you're reading in bed, and a variety of hooks and adhesives for decorating."

Page Hardware offers moving and storage solutions too – everything from carry-on totes to storage bags in all sizes.  Says Grosky, "There's a storage bag you put all of your clothes into and then use a vacuum to suction out the air so you can fit it into smaller spaces."

On the fun side, "we carry Wiffle ball equipment (made in CT), Frisbees, and a new Frisbee with a ball ... it's like a new style tennis racket and you can use it in the water.  For nighttime, we have a Frisbee that lights up."

While Page Hardware caters more to back-to-school for collegiates, younger students can gear up as well with lunchboxes and supplies such as index cards, erasers, rubber bands, and writing utensils.  Grosky notes the popularity of Disney-themed (for the youngest students) as well as Polar Gear brand thermal insulated lunchboxes (for high schoolers).

The amount customers spend varies as much as the price of college.  "A grandfather came in yesterday buying foldable chairs for the dorm room. They're very easy to store and only cost $14, but then they could go out and buy a mini fridge and a microwave for, say $200."

If your student finds they need something after move-in day, it's not too late as, for a little extra, Page Hardware can ship a care package directly to the college.


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