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Back to school shopping: Local small business or big box store?

Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 08:18:41-04

WAUWATOSA, WI — It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again. Milwaukee Public Schools students who are a part of the early start program already go back to school on Monday.

That includes every M.P.S. high school student, meaning thousands of families are on a mad dash to get supplies at stores like Meijer. Walking through shopping aisles full of school supplies, is that dreaded time of year when reality sets in for student Jazaiah May.

"I’m going to miss summer, just sleeping all through the day, eating bacon every morning," May said.

Ready or not, May is crossing everything off his list at the Wauwatosa Meijer store in preparation for 7th grade.

"Markers, sharpies, highlighters, sticky notes," he said.

"The great thing about the transition is just the variety that we have here at Meijer," said store director Michael Barney. "We have everything from crayons, markers, folders. We have great name brands such as Under Armour, Adidas and all of our accessories."

According to the National Retail Federation’s back to school forecast, parents are expected to spend more than ever this year. A whopping average of $700 per student when you factor in new clothes, shoes, supplies and more.

Buffy Zussman and her daughter Sydney prefer the experience of shopping local at Winkie’s in Whitefish Bay.

"They know you when you walk in they make you feel so friendly and you know they have exactly what you need which is really, really nice," Zussman said.

Sydney is off to her first year of middle school. The transition means filling up her first locker.

"Locker organization is big, getting the cool things to decorate and shelves and make it fun at the same time," Zussman said.

Winkie’s makes it easy for about 500 students and their parents with prepackaged school supplies ready for pick up.

"They have many other things they'd prefer to do," said Winkie's co-owner Beth Stuhlmacher. "They're traveling at this time of year or they just want to spend time with their kids and this way they just pick up the pack and it's all what the schools have ordered and what they want them to have."