The annual need for students to purchase the essential supplies, in addition to nice-to-haves, creates a massive influx in local spending – particularly among certain businesses.
“For our kind of business, it’s pretty much bang on equal with our Christmas season. So it’s almost like we have two Christmas seasons,” said Staples general manager Joe Aschemeier. “It has been absolutely wonderful and very busy, so busy we haven’t been able to find time to do much more than look after our customers.”
Aschemeier said at Staples, back-to-school begins the day after school is out in June, and continues through to mid-September. The influx in customers requires a seasonally larger workforce.
“We’re blessed that a lot of our staff come back each year just for the back-to-school season, because it’s a fun time.”
A range of businesses at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre also note the spike in sales. Back-to-school season there runs from early August until mid-to late September, with the heaviest rush being two weeks before school starts to about two weeks after school is back in session, according to marketing director Andrea Davison.
“Cherry Lane has always had a healthy influx during this particular time. We have a great mix of stores and services that make it a one stop shop,” she said. “I can’t speak for other retailers in Penticton to make a general statement regarding the overall business community impact it has, but back to school shopping is very impactful to Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.”