STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Seven-year-old Lilly Steinback is excited to be a sophomore and ready for back to school.
She was with her mother shopping at a thrift store in Sterling Heights.
“There are always sales, always discounts. You probably won’t find a better deal than here for the quality of clothing and the variety you get,” said Lilly’s mother, Dakota Steinbeck.
The store is one of four that helps fund programs offered by Grace Centers of Hope. It turned out to be a life-changing experience for Dakota and her family, who found themselves homeless after moving from Florida to Michigan.
Dani Estep is the thrift store retail manager, and she said more and more people are coming through the doors.
“At our Warren store, our Oak Park store, our sales have doubled since people started shopping for back to school,” Estep said.
WXYZ’s Dave LewAllen asked, “What’s the reason?”
“Inflation, always. Every person who walks in the door tells us that prices are going up everywhere else, so they’re looking to save money where they can. And we’re giving them that opportunity,” Estep said.
In its annual back-to-school survey, audit and tax services firm Deloitte found that parents expected to pay 8% more this year, with an average spend of $661 per child.
Compared to the pre-pandemic figures of 2019, this represents an increase of 27%.
A separate study by the National Retail Federation found that 38% of parents are reducing spending in other areas to account for the increases.
Among this group, 84% expect to see higher prices for clothing and accessories, 82% for school supplies, while 73% expect to pay more for shoes.
The thrift store offers parents a more affordable way to shop, especially for clothes.
“A lot of them are brand new with tags. Also a lot of the time, a lot of them haven’t even been worn yet,” Dakota said.
“We have Nike, Adidas, Puma, anything you can think of. You know, what kids are looking for and a lot of vintage clothes that teenagers are looking for as well,” Estep said.