Ready to study

SEBRING -- With 11 and 13-year-old daughters, back to school shopping for Maddie Consepcion starts as soon as school ends in early June.

With a picky 11-year-old whose jeans have to be just right "it's crazy," Consepcion said Friday while shopping at JC Penny in the Lakeshore Mall.

She either doesn't like the style or she's looking for skinny jeans or straight jeans in either regular or slim, she said.

Consepcion's daughter, Serena Hitt, described her perfect jeans.

"They have to look good and feel good and they have to be kind of baggy, but not too baggy and not too tight," she said.

Though many families start their back to school shopping earlier in the summer, last minute shoppers continue to snatch up clothes, backpacks and school supplies.

Kim Woodham helped her three grandchildren, Ethan, 12, Danielle, 10, and Alyssa, 7, pick out clothes and backpacks at JCPenny.

"They can't have embellishments," Woodham reminded the girls who will be attending Memorial Elementary School, which requires standardized dress.

Woodham said they voted for the standardized dress because it makes shopping much easier.

Danielle and Alyssa's father, Rick, said after spending $220 that this is their second round of shopping.

They will spend a total of $500 to $600, he said, but then upped the total to $700 to $800 to include new shoes.

Sebring JCPenny Manager Bruce Horne said since their was no tax free state holiday this year, earlier in the month the JC Penny Stores offered an additional discount (7 percent in Highlands).

With sale events occurring later and school starting later, the sales have shifted for August so he has to wait until the end of the month to total up his sales proceeds, Horn said.

"But we are on target," he said. "We are pleased with our back to school traffic."

With the Wal-Mart in Wauchula running out of some school supplies, Josephine Rivera and her daughter, Naomi, 12, drove from Hardee County to the Avon Park Big Lots store.

Holding a package of pens, erasers, a three-ring binder, loose-leaf paper and two composition notebooks, Naomi looked for a spiral notebook with perforated pages that can be easily removed from the notebook.

After attending the Hardee Junior High School orientation they learned they needed some additional school supplies, Josephine said.

They finished their shopping after locating highlighters and colored pencils.

School starts Monday in Highlands and Hardee counties.

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