Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Back to school means trip to mall

With less than two weeks before area school bells ring, shoppers crowded retail outlets this weekend for back-to-school supplies and clothes.

Although New Mexico did not have a statewide tax-free weekend like neighboring Texas, many Clovis retailers held their own tax-free days, offering discounts and specials to keep people at home.

School begins Aug. 18 in Clovis and on Aug. 20 in Portales.

Payless Shoesource Assistant Manager Leslie Spence said her Saturday customers included visitors from Tucumcari and Bovina.

“We even had one customer come this (Saturday) morning from Lubbock who said she likes the small-town atmosphere,” Spence said.

Payless Manager Elizabeth Ortiz said she fought with her store chain to have “tax-free” discount days in Clovis this year in order to compete with Texas.

“Last year we didn’t have tax-free days, but I really wanted it this year and we have done great ... At least 70 percent of our customers this weekend were shopping for back-to-school,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said Spider-Man and Bratz are the trendy footwear and backpacks this season, as well as skate shoes and a women’s boot similar to the Uggs brand and Shaq shoes.

Shawn and Scott Day were doing some back-to-school shopping at Clovis’ North Plains Mall and agreed the bargains were good.

“Instead of paying to drive to Texas, we’re finding some good deals here and saving money,” Scott said.

The Days have two children, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old about to begin kindergarten, so this is their family’s first year shopping for school. Shawn said she has been buying a few things at a time for her daughter, saying she can’t afford to buy everything at once.

Ramiro Garcia Sr. and Ramiro Garcia Jr. of Bovina also went to North Plains Mall on Saturday to shop for school, which begins on Aug. 16, in Bovina. The senior Garcia said it was easier and cheaper to drive to Clovis to shop for his son, who is going into fourth grade, than drive to a bigger town in his own state.

Amy Canchola felt like she was getting good deals on clothing Saturday for her daughter, JazLyn, an incoming first-grader at Highland Elementary School.

“This is last-minute school shopping for me. I usually start at the beginning or mid-July,” Canchola said. At age 6, she said JazLyn is already fashion conscious and picky about what she wears.

The back-to-school supplies are not limited to paper, pens and clothing.

“I had a girl come by earlier who wanted to get a new cell-phone cover for back-to-school,” said Chris Mitchell, who works at Cell Needs in the mall.

And at B. Dalton Books in the mall, Manager Sarah Gonzales said, “We are selling a lot of dictionaries, planners and journals, especially the Spanish-English and French-English dictionaries for the high school level.

“We also carry school reading lists, which are books students will read in high school,” Gonzales said.