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Parents struggle whether to buy school uniforms for upcoming year

School uniform business owner confident business will be back
Posted at 11:16 AM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 11:16:49-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — As school districts debate whether to return to class this fall, should parents buy school uniforms?

Jim Harris, owner of Harris School Uniforms in Riviera Beach, is gearing up for back to school season. It'll look at bit different this year with limited store capacity, sterilization stations and masks required.

"We'll have to spray all the clothes with Lysol or some kind of disinfectant before we fold them back up, and put them back on the shelves," Harris said.

He said, like all businesses, there were some slower months, but things appear to be settling.

Mid-July marks his busy period and they're getting creative on avenues for sales. They're also offering up free shipping for online sales.

"We are going out to visit some of those schools to cut the big crowds in here down. So we will go there, be socially distant and spaced out and be doing smaller groups," Harris said.

Many children have uniforms sitting in closets from last year. Some are too small, while others have hardly been worn. But some parents say they're now questioning whether or not to buy them for the upcoming school year.

"We are just holding off to see what happens," said Eliza Lieberman, a mom. "If they do just virtual, they are actually requesting the kids wear their uniform tops and stuff."

Last year, she said uniforms cost upwards of $700.

That's a lot of money, and my business has been closed since March, so we are 100 percent holding off," said Lieberman.

Cathy Curry, a grandmother, said she was shopping for herself.

"I'm browsing for school uniforms for my family day care home, for myself," she said.

Curry is forgoing buying uniforms for her grandson this year.

"I'm not looking to buy any uniforms," she said. "He will not be returning to school. Safety first. Children first. It's not a good thing to do with children. You don't play with children's lives."

Despite the school year up in the air, Harris believes business will be back, as some parents shift the type of uniforms they are buying.

"It may be bigger, because if anything, a lot of people may be taking their children out of the large public schools and putting them in smaller private schools," Harris said.