East Texans face school supply shortage before heading back to the classroom

Back to School

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – As parents go back-to-school shopping, they may find that necessities for their children are in short supply.

For Rayna Flores and her family, they hadn’t heard that there was a school supply shortage.

“I had never heard anything. I mean I see it,” Flores said after her and her family just finished shopping at a big box store.

“I noticed for kids, like younger kids, they were kind of low on a lot of stuff — the drinks, the backpacks, the lunch pails,” Samuel Gonzalez, Flores’ husband, said.

Supply chains across many industries have experienced a pandemic-fueled bottleneck and have had trouble keeping up with rising demands.

Shipments have been clogging ports, especially with a lack of workers to keep things moving.

This year, the national retail federation has predicted record back-to-school spending.

“For teachers it’s gone up quite a bit because they didn’t decorate their rooms last year. They didn’t have things to decorate for,” Elise Thiesen of GW School Supply said.

Thiesen said that the shortage will most likely impact the supply of backpacks, shoes, laptops and tablets.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Nike may run out of Vietnamese sneakers as COVID-19 accelerates. Two of Nike Inc.’s suppliers in Vietnam, Chang Shin Vietnam Co. Ltd. and Pou Chen Corp., have halted manufacturing due to a rapidly expanding COVID-19 outbreak.

“We have pencils, binders, clipboards, basically anything for school, we have it,” Thiesen said. “We’re mostly busy the week before school starts, so this next couple of weeks is going to be packed.”

According to New-York based global trade company Panjiva, data indicated that kids’ clothing, shoes and backpacks will remain in high demand after U.S. seaborne imports have increased 64.4% over the second quarter of 2021, but are still below 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

With inventory expected to be tight, shoppers have been urged to avoid waiting until the last minute.

“I recommend you get your shopping done early because right now everybody is everywhere,” Flores said.

Experts suggest starting shopping online, all major retailers will send inventory and price alerts. Mobile apps, such as shop savvy, can also be helpful.        

“If you’re a family out there wanting to get all the school supplies, but usually wait until maybe a week or two before school, that’s when it’s going to become a problem,” said retail analyst Hitha Herzog.

There are still some places in East Texas where people can get free school supplies.

In Kilgore, Funzone will be hosting a back to school bash and school supply give away on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 300 Harris St.

On Wednesday, Aug. 3, Tree of Promise will hold a back to school drive in Rusk to give away free school supplies on a first come, first served basis on Aug. 3 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. People who attend must provide proof of residence within Rusk ISD.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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