Back to school businesses are hurting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Back to school businesses are hurting

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Students may dread the back to school season, but certain store owners thrive on it. Although this is a busy time of year for them, the economy has not made things easy.

For some store owners, the next few weeks will be their best of the year. "This time of the year is kind of like Christmas. A back to school Christmas season. The teachers come in and buy the things to get their rooms ready for the next group of children," said Shapes and More Owner Linda Benton.

Shapes and More in Thomasville primarily serves the supply needs of teachers, but also sells supplies for students.

Benton says the last few years have been rough. "This is the beginning of the third season where it's not going to be like the good old days because of the economy the teachers are suffering with cuts as far as furlough days which cuts into their paycheck."

One teacher says he's forced to buy only the bare essentials. "This year we have eight furlough days so that's almost a quarter of a month so it makes a difference with the money you have available to spend on extra items like that," said Thomas County Middle School Teacher Harold Singletary.

He says when it comes to their supply budget, each year is worse than the last. "We've always spent a lot of money out of our own pocket, but it's getting even more because the budget for those kinds of things is simply gone."

Shapes and More offers gift certificates parents can buy to try to help out their kids' teachers. "The sad thing about that is they have to use their own money to buy the supplies. Their not furnished any funds through the school," said Benton.

Benton says business is down for all items, but they are mostly struggling with their decorative supplies. She says to save money, teachers are recycling everything they can.

Dougherty County Schools start Monday. Most systems will be back in session by the following Monday, August 8th.


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