The countdown to the new school year is on in Palm Beach County, and so is last-minute back-to-school shopping.
Students and parents headed to local stores Friday to stock up on paper, color pencils and other school supplies needed for the new school year that starts Monday.
"This is the last batch of everything I need," said Chenita Mosley as she walked out of an Office Depot in Boynton Beach, her hands full with several shopping bags.
Mosley began buying supplies for her 5-year-old son, Josiah, a few weeks ago, but still needed some construction paper, copy paper, markers and crayon.
"There's a lot of stuff he needs," Mosley said. "And he's just in kindergarten."
Soon-to-be eighth-grader Zack Ceci and his dad, Craig Ceci, also walked the store's aisles Friday, loading a shopping cart with magic tape, scissors, ballpoint pens and erasers. It was their only planned trip for school supplies.
"We are doing a one-stop shop, keeping it simple," Craig Ceci said.
In Florida, back-to-school spending for kids from kindergarten through college is expected to reach about $5 billion this year, the Florida Retail Federation said. A three-day tax-free weekend earlier this month saved Floridians at least $40 million, according to the retail group.
The average family with children in grades K-through-12 is projected to spend about $670 this year on clothes, footwear, school supplies and electronics, up from about $635 last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
By Friday, Heather Lowe just needed a handful of supplies for her 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.
"We have everything, but I've been looking around for deals on backpacks," the 42-year-old Lowe said. "Now they have 25 percent off backpacks. I'm happy with that."
At Boynton Beach Mall, Vernude Admette and her three children — who are going into third, fifth and 10th grades — went in and out of stores looking for the right pairs of shoes.
"I've been shopping all summer," Admette said. "Shoes were the last thing they needed."
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