School Supply Shopping: What Crowds?

Many Bedford-Katonah parents skip school supply shopping altogether. For those who don’t, choosing where to shop is all about store selection and the overall shopping experience.

It may seem like the school doors just closed for the summer, but the major retailers have already begun promoting their back to school supplies in hopes of wooing more customers than their competition. 

and draw crowds with their enormous assortment of items, while local drug stores and paper supply stores hope to attract customers seeking personalized service, unique items, and a less crowded shopping environment.

But for many prepared parents, back to school supply shopping was finished before summer vacation started.

Like many local schools, the Katonah Lewisboro PTA took the stress out of back to school supply shopping by offering parents the opportunity to order pre-packed back to school supply kits, customized to the teachers’ specification.

Raj Uppal of Cross River was shopping in Staples for her 3 children—all who attend the Katonah Lewisboro Schools—because she missed the June deadline to order her children’s back to school kits.  “I usually order the school packs, but this year I missed the deadline to order, so we’re here trying to beat the crowds,” Uppal admitted. “I prefer Staples to Target and the other drug stores because I think it has a much greater variety, and a much larger back to school focused section,” Uppal said.

owner Elaina Baboian said that back to school is no longer a booming business for her store. According to Baboian, it wasn’t Staples or Target, but the back to school packs that ultimately eroded her back to school business.

“The business has changed over the years. In the past I had two registers with steady lines throughout August. Not anymore. Back to school is no longer one of our big seasons. We do carry school supplies—notepads, pens, locks—but we carry those items all year long,”   Baboian said.

This year, John Jay Middle School and Lewisboro Elementary School both used a company called Supplies to Please, founded and located in Armonk, according to LES PTA representatives. The owners are two Armonk moms who are former PTA reps themselves.

At in Katonah, shop owner Ann Luria is using the school pack system to her advantage. “A lot of parents missed the school pack deadline and don’t want to run out to Staples and deal with the crowds,” Luria said. Many of her customers requested that she carry the items from the school lists, so she had the Katonah Elementary School send her its list of required supplies. 

Luria will sell pre-assembled packs. “I expect to have the school supplies to match the Katonah Elementary School in my store by the end of this week, and parents can call to order their packs beginning this Monday, August 8th,” Luria said.

Above and beyond the traditional note pads and pencils, Luria stocks her store with special back to school supplies like fun and interesting shoe laces, ID change purses, snack packs, and pencil sharpeners and erasers. She said that even the parents who buy the school packs often like to throw in a few special items.

In the end, there are still enough last minute shoppers and parents who missed their school pack deadlines to make August a busy month for most school supply stores. If you prefer a quieter shopping experience, the local drug stores are probably your best bet, but if you don’t mind the crowds and are seeking a wider selection, shop at one of the super stores. If you still can’t decide where to shop, let price be your deciding factor.    

Take a look at our price comparison below.

Avery Heavy Duty (1.5 inch heavy) 3 Ring Binder

Steger’s: $5.50

Staples: $7.49

Target: $8.79

Bedford Pharmacy: $5.59


College Ruled Paper

Steger’s: $4.30 for 200 sheets

Staples: $1.99 for 120 sheets

Target: $1.00 for 150 sheets

Bedford Pharmacy: $3.50 for 200 sheets


Bag of BIC Ball Point Pens

Steger’s: $3.25

Staples: $2.99

Target: $1.00

Bedford Pharmacy:  $2.37


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