Local business owner: Parents need to buy school supplies now though school reopening plans not confirmed

Posted at 8:54 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 22:30:08-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It’s the time of the year where store shelves are stocked with all the back-to-school must-haves.

“The stores are flooded; parents are buying binders, packs of paper and pencils and I’m just not seeing that right now,” said Domonique Phillips.

She and her mother, Shannon, raise her two siblings, who are in middle school.

“To be honest, I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to the aisles yet because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Shannon Phillips.

Most school districts in Hampton Roads are still in the process of finalizing their back-to-school reopening plans.

It’s now a waiting game for one local small business owner, Dorthy Schwartzer.

“By this time, usually parents had began to order supplies for their kids. I have not had any orders yet,” said Schwartzer.

She runs Tidewater Teacher Supply, an online store out of her home in Virginia Beach where she delivers boxes to teachers and parents.

“It just such a time saver for parents not to have to go out and look for specific items that the teachers or grade levels are requesting,” she adds.

But with no concrete school plan, her supplies still don’t have homes.

She says, “Being successful in this season really can affect how I am able to keep the business running the other months of the year.”

News 3 did speak to another local school supply store in Chesapeake, and they tell us the same thing - that business is slow and they are not as busy as they were last season.

We were able to go into a couple of big-box stores like Target and Walmart. Their school supply aisles were stocked, but not a parent or teacher was in sight.

Schwartzer said even though it's quiet now, it may be the best time to go in and get some supplies.

Related: Virginia Republican lawmakers push for five-day school week

“Parents really need to start thinking about finding things now - picking those things up now while it’s not too busy so they can keep their safety in mind when it’s not a mad rush in August,” she adds.

Phillips says she doesn’t plan on buying anything anytime soon.

“'Cause backpacks - they don’t need if they are staying at home,” she said.

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