Despite the protests of couch-laden kids across Canada, summer will not last forever. This being mid-August, school is just around the corner. That, of course, means back to school shopping for school supplies, clothes, and even electronics.
Shopper’s Drug Mart in the Castlegar Plaza is one of many stores in town with a wide array of school supplies.
“Kids are looking for pencils, pens, binders,” said Kelsea Derosz, photo technician for Shopper’s Drug Mart. “We’ve got backpacks and pretty much everything you need for back to school.”
Derosz says Bic is always a popular brand for writing implements such as pens and pencils. The Shopper’s brand, Get, is also very popular.
“It’s a more affordable brand that we sell,” she said. “Five Star is also popular for binders. We’ve also got paper, pencil cases, books, glue sticks, calculators including scientific calculators.”
For the college-age students, Shopper’s sells mini-fridges, microwaves, and fans that fit nicely into dorm rooms.
For tech-savvy students, Andre’s Audiotronics has a wide range of electronics such as phones, car audio, televisions, and more.
“Seems like the younger set is getting more and more iPhones and any kind of smart phones,” said Steve Hoodicoff, installer at Andre’s. “Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 are getting more popular. They come with big, huge screens and the new Jelly Bean operating systems. They convince their parents they need them for school for classes and scheduling but really they’re watching videos and looking at Facebook and playing games.”
Hoodicoff said kids are looking at picking up nice headphones so they can listen to the mp3’s on their fancy new phones.
“Beats by Dre that Monster makes are really popular,” he said. “They’re in magazines and on TV and kids want to pick them up. There are higher end headphones as well like the ones that Focal makes. If you put a lot of music on your phone you want it to sound good as well.”
For the older students who can drive, car audio is always popular.
“Kids get their cars when they’re 16 or 17,” said Hoodicoff. “A lot of the units have Blutooth built in so you won’t get in trouble for talking or texting on your phone. In addition, a lot of kids like to have bass in their trunk. I always try to convince them to get good speakers too because you can’t really hear anything because otherwise all the sound gets drowned out.”
Sounding good is great, but looking good is another matter. Students of all ages spend a lot of time and money on clothes and accessories so they can look good when they go back to school.
“It’s all over the board,” said Joni Tomlin, sales associate at J.J.’s Fashion in Castlegar, when asked what’s popular this year. “But there’s still the trend of the skinny jeans. Colour denim is another thing everyone seems to want to get on board. Sweaters that are more like Cardigans. Lots of colours. Backpacks for the 10-15 year-old group. They like the bright colours and anything that has pockets.”
Tomlin says jeans continue to be popular for guys as well.
“The silhouettes for jeans are trimming down again. They’re not as wide,” she said. “We don’t seem to be selling a lot of skinnys for guys. More of the straighter cuts, not so full. A lot of plaids, coloured shirts are popular.”
Hoodies are still popular, but not as much as before.
“We’re selling more zip-ups,” said Tomlin. “They seem to be going more into the fashion items like the sweaters and the zip-ups than just a straight hoodie. We still do carry a lot of hoods. A lot of t-shirts. Colours are big again, logos not so much.”
Handbags are popular among female customers.
“It seems like they want one of every colour,” she said. “Girls are girls.”
The three most popular jean brands this year at J.J.’s are Silver, Mavi, and Ripcurler, and Quik Silver for the guys.