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      Back to School Shopping Season in Full Swing for Area Retailers

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      The start of the new school year is just around the corner for local students, which means back to school season -- the second biggest shopping season of the year -- is in full swing.

      Once mid-July hits, many retailers -- especially bigger chains promoting nationwide campaigns -- undertake a huge transition.

      "It's a big transition, there's lots of sales going on, lots of kids sales, especially with uniforms and denim and all of that fall product that just came in. We do hire a few more people to add to our staff for back to school just to make sure we have everybody here to help the customer's needs," said Old Navy assistant manager Kilye Slaymaker.

      Backpacks, shoes, clothes and other accessories for school bring a noticeable demographic to the register.

      "Right now it's a lot of parents bringing in elementary and junior high kids of that age, and as we get closer to late August we'll start seeing a few more college kids trickle in now and then," said Tyler Stracke with Sports Village.

      For local retailers competing with big chains, it can be tough.

      Sports Village in the Hilltop Mall, says they compete by carrying local products and putting their best face forward.

      "Generally we really have to make sure we keep the store looking tidy. We try and have all of our mannequins dressed and have everything neat and organized so that it's easy to shop in here," said Stracke.

      And while this time of year usually focuses on school clothing, it's a great time for thrifty bargain shoppers to take advantage of spring and summer clearance items as well.

      Back to school sales usually run through mid-August to early September. Soon after stores start gearing up and preparing for Black Friday and the holiday season.
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