The owner of Smarty Pants in Findlay says parents bought items from her store to help keep the kids occupied at home during distance learning.
FINDLAY, Ohio – When you think back to the classroom, school supplies are at the forefront of concerns for parents, as well as teachers.
But where is the best place to get them?
In an era when many educational supply stores are in decline – largely because of Amazon and other big box stores – Smarty Pants in Findlay has seen success.
Owner Jane Hassan said that thanks to COVID, many families have realized that these supplies can be used at home to teach and entertain children.
“It has suddenly become an urgent need for all these children who are at home,” Hassan said. “Parents who are at home, trying to work from home and looking for ways to keep the kids occupied without using the screen. “
She attributes the success to the store’s ability to adopt multiple digital marketing strategies, which has brought a whole new customer base and new revenue stream.
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“We got to the point where we had two markets and needed two locations. So COVID has actually been a blessing,” Hassan said. “All of these teachers seem to be going back to school this year.”
The two Smarty Pants locations in Findlay have everything a teacher would need for their classroom.
“We ended up opening up a second space so that we could devote it directly to teacher supplies and classroom decorating while still keeping the other showcase that had toys, puzzles, games and items for kids. arts and crafts, as well as those products that kept children busy at home. “said Hassan.
But some teachers say it’s easier and cheaper to shop online or at big box stores.
“I think, yes, I could go to other smaller stores. But, I would get three things from this store, three things from another store,” said Jordan Hector, art teacher for schools. Van Buren primaries. “It’s just easier for me to go to a big place and get everything I need and go about it that way.
As an art teacher, Hector is constantly shopping for paint, glitter, and other craft supplies.
But she’s at a crossroads with increasing COVID cases and a return to school.
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She says she cares about class sizes and what supplies are needed.
“When COVID first happened, we were trying to socialize the kids as much as possible and we didn’t want them to share supplies. So I would have actually asked my students to bring their own supplies to the school. ‘art, “Hector said. “So they were bringing their own pencils, erasers, scissors, glue, stuff like that.”
Going forward, she says she always tries to decide what will be best and whether her students should bring their own supplies or if it’s okay to share them.
Like so many things in life in 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly altered what can seem like the most mundane things, like where people get school supplies.