Shop Thrifty, Local For Back To School

olympia school supplies
Bright animal backpacks are a sure hit from local clothing store The Chifferobe.


By Alyssa Ramsfield

xeroxAs summer comes to an end and the leaves begin to change colors, kids across Thurston County know it’s time to head back to school. Television ads are on a loop showing their latest and greatest deals for all of the school supply necessities and it can be very overwhelming. Where should we go? How can my family get everything we need? Do yourself a favor, avoid the stress of the overcrowded malls and head to some wonderful independently run shops.

Clothing and Accessories

olympia school supplies
Bright animal backpacks are a sure hit from local clothing store The Chifferobe.

The Chifferobe (1007 Capitol Way S.) makes a great first stop for families looking to outfit their children. Clothes ranging in sizes from newborn to 8+ are available for both boys and girls. They also offer an array of accessories for school including zoo inspired backpacks and matching insulated lunch bags.

Beyond the usual selection of clothing, The Chifferobe also sells gently used items. “The concept here is about being green,” explains store associate, Crystal Harris. “We exchange used items for store credit. These quality items are then made available in the store at great prices. We are really trying to be green whenever possible which includes our exchange program and our current goal to no longer use bags.”

It you have an older child looking to make a big impression in September, check out some of the local thrift shops including Retro 360 (4812 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey). With the recent success of rapper Macklemore’s hit, “Thrift Shop”, popping tags is not only on trend, but affordable.  Retro 360 offers a wide variety of clothing bound to please those students looking for a unique look.

School Supplies

olympia school supplies
Highlighters in a rainbow of colors are just a few of the school supplies parents can find at locally owned Crains Office Supply.

Every classroom has a list of necessary items to get the school year started off right. For many, these lists can be overwhelming. The team at Crains Office Supply (1006 E. 4th Ave, Olympia) can help make your shopping a breeze. “We are all about customer service,” says associate, Kyle Goetz. “We understand that shopping locally takes an effort and we try to match that effort in any way we can.”

This is evident in Crain’s selection of must-have supplies including an impressive highlighter display that has all of the colors of the rainbow available. Beyond the usual office materials, they also have a wide assortment of office furniture for those students who may be working from home or just need an exclusive space to study.

Extracurricular Activities

Clothes and pencils always make the shopping list, but what about all of additional activities students participate in?  One of these pursuits may be a sports team. With fees for the team and gear for the game, the cost can really start to stack up.

olympia used sports gear
Score! Used Sports Gear gives parents a thrifty option to outfit athletic kids.

Score! Used Sports Gear (1415 State Ave. NE, Olympia) can provide the much needed equipment at a fraction of the cost. “I started Score! based on my family’s need for cheaper gear,” explains owner, Rhonda Olnick. “My growing boys do different sports all year long and they always need new equipment. At one point, we were driving to a used store in Federal Way to try and cut down on cost. I know I can’t be the only parent trying to keep up so we brought the concept to Olympia.”

Score! not only provides used gear at a low price, but they are also stocking up on new items to satisfy any family in the community.

So skip the usual madhouse box stores and take your family around town to purchase your supplies. By shopping locally, your child will have the most distinctive items, receive quality customer service, and help to support the local economy.


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