Shop “Early and Often” for Back-to-School Savings

July 30, 2015 (YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) – With some Ohio schools starting back up as early as August, back-to-school shopping is about to kick off. The Youngstown Area Goodwill is reminding parents that it’s never too early to start shopping for back-to-school clothes, as the inventory at its eight local retail locations is ever-changing.

newsphoto“Shop early and shop often,” says its executive director, Mike McBride. “Our merchandise changes very quickly and we put donations out as soon as we get them in.”

The National Retail Federation’s 2015 Back to School survey reports that the average family with children in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade will spend some $630 on clothing, shoes, supplies and electronics. As parents seek the best deals for their kids’ apparel, local Goodwill stores are running back-to-school deals on clothing to help ease the burden.

Starting in August, stores will be setting up sections specifically for school clothes and uniform items, including white and light-colored polo shirts, and dark-colored slacks and shorts. Most donations come in around the start of back-to-school time, McBride says.

“By the time back-to-school season begins, many parents find that their kids have outgrown last year’s clothes,” he says. “That’s when we get in a majority of those donations, and we’re always adding to our stock.”

A special back-to-school sale will run Aug. 2–8 at all locations. Goodwill Special Club members should have received a special coupon in the mail that they can use toward back-to-school purchases. With the coupon, shoppers can save 30% off on new merchandise and 50% off on donated merchandise. The stores will also have a limited number of the coupons available.

Not all merchandise is used, McBride says. New merchandise is donated from other retailers, and includes clothing items that are out-of-season, on sale and returns, as well as accessories such as jewelry and sunglasses. Stores will also have a limited number of backpacks for sale, ranging in price from $1.99 to around $7. “These sell-out quickly,” he says, and are donated from consumers as well as retailers.

Buyers can enjoy even more savings on Aug. 7–9, when Ohio offers tax-free shopping on back-to-school items, including clothing, shoes and school supplies. Goodwill Customer Loyalty card members can receive points and discounts as well. Customers can sign up on-line or in stores. Each month, all donated merchandise is 50% off on the last Friday and Saturday of the month.

McBride also stresses the importance of donating clothes, not just for the benefit of the shoppers but also for Goodwill employees. Employees process all of the donations, sort them, inspect them and place them throughout the store. Donations are the “lifeblood of Goodwill” and help keep the stores going, he says. Many of Goodwill’s employees are people with disabilities or other barriers.

“Stores make up more than 60% of our total budget, so if we don’t have donations, we can’t employ our people,” he says.

Goodwill operates eight area locations in Austintown, Boardman, Calcutta, Hermitage, Liberty, New Castle, Salem and Warren.