No parent (and especially no child) has ever been excited at the prospect of stampeding into the local Target, Walmart, or OfficeMax in a mad dash to secure a new year’s worth of school supplies or clothes before the shelves are empty and you’re stuck with that one lousy two-tone pencil case that cracks easily and then never really stays closed again.
This semester, shop smarter. Westchester is full of smaller boutiques and supply stores where you can score the same necessities as big-box stores, often at a fraction of the cost and all while keeping your dollars local! Check out our handy list below for some of our neighborhood favorites.
This Mamaroneck favorite has everything from poster board to painting supplies, with an expansive showroom to help you get everything your student needs for first grade, all the way up to college and professional-level drafting equipment. (Plus, they offer custom framing in case you want to hang up that diploma or maybe a motivational cat poster!)
For stationary, writing supplies, planners, and the like, Write On! In neighboring Larchmont is also a sure-fire bet. They’re also a great option for kitsch and gift items, which means your kids can have the coolest locker in class. Class president? Matching planners and wall calendars will keep their busy schedule organized. Star athlete? Scented candle will compensate for those gym shorts.
While they’re a national chain, there’s no discounting Papyrus. With locations in Rye, White Plains, Scarsdale, Bronxville, and Yonkers, they’re an ideal spot to pick up basics that are a little fancier than just basic. Once again we’re talking stationary and day planners as well as general home and gift items that will be far more well-received than a box of Dixon Ticonderoga #2s and a plastic zipper bag full of glue and markers.
Want your kids to look like they just stepped off of 2nd Ave.? Well, conveniently, the women’s and children’s clothing store of just that location also has an address in Rye Brook. Featuring well over a hundred brands of tops and bottoms, shoes, accessories, outerwear, and even the oh-so-trendy “athleisurewear,” Lester’s is a great place to pick up some of the hottest fashions for your kids before they hop on the bus for a new school year. You can check out their Fall 2018 Stylebook online, or take part in their model search for new talent!
This Best of Westchester winner specializes in children’s clothing and draws customers from all over the county and as far as Fairfield to its door in Katonah. Stop in for some fresh looks, new backpacks, or just to scope out some unexpected new style. Bonus: They even offer custom gift baskets for birthdays, baby showers, religious events, and any occasion you can think of!
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You don’t actually have to spend a ton to get haute looks, though. Westchester is also home to several consignment shops specifically geared toward quality games, apparel, and necessities for women and children. The Preppy Turtle in Bedford Hills is one such shop, touting “exceptional clothing at bargain prices.” They accept donations year-round (organized by season), and run plenty of specials and sales to sweeten their already sweet deals. Over in Dobbs Ferry, Affordables runs a similar program focusing on children’s, baby, and maternity items, while Once Upon a Child serves the local Scarsdale community. They accept only merchandise in impeccable condition, so dispel any images you have in your head of a dusty old hand-me-down shop.
In the dash to get clothing and calculators, pencils and protractors all stuffed into your child’s bag as they’re tearing out the door, it’s easy to forget you’re also sending them into a high-density population of tired, overworked, tiny humans who often forget to wash their hands. Casual reminder: Get your kids in for their regular vaccinations now so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute along with everyone else. (Plus you can still bribe them with ice cream while it’s warm out. No such guarantees come September.)
Most insurance plans cover regular vaccinations for children and adults, but for anyone whose living and working situation doesn’t include that coverage as a viable option, the Westchester County Department of Health offers zero-cost vaccine clinics in both Yonkers and White Plains. Appointments are available every Friday for all recommended childhood vaccines and several adult ones, so the whole family can go. Special back-to-school clinics are also available. For more information or to set up an appointment, call (914) 995-5800.