STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Seven-year-old Lilly Steinback is excited to be a second grader and ready for the start of the new school year.
She was with her mom shopping at a thrift store in Sterling Heights.
“There’s always sales going on, always discounts. You probably won’t find a better bargain than you will here for the quality of clothes and the variety that you’re getting,” Lilly's mom Dakota Steinbeck said.
The store is one of four that helps fund the programs offered by Grace Centers of Hope. It has proven to be a life-changing experience for Dakota and her family, who wound up homeless after moving to Michigan from Florida.
Dani Estep is the retail director of the thrift stores, and she said more and more people are coming through the doors.
“In our Warren store, our Oak Park store, our sales have doubled since people have started back-to-school shopping,” Estep said.
WXYZ’s Dave LewAllen asked, "What’s the reason?”
“Inflation, always. Every person that walks through the door, they’re telling us prices everywhere else are increasing, so they’re looking to save money where they can. And we offer them that opportunity,” Estep said.
In its annual back-to-school survey, audit and tax services company Deloitte found parents are expecting to pay 8% more this year, with an average spending of $661 per child.
Compared to pre-pandemic figures from 2019, that is an increase of 27%.
A separate National Retail Federation study found that 38% of parents are cutting back spending in other areas to account for the increases.
Of that group, 84% expect to see higher prices for clothing and accessories, 82% for school supplies, while 73% anticipate paying more for shoes.
The thrift store offers parents a more affordable way to shop, especially for clothes.
“A lot of them are new with tags. A lot of the time too, a lot of them haven’t even been worn yet,” Dakota said.
“We have Nike, Adidas, Puma, anything that you can think of. You know, what kids are looking for and a lot of the vintage clothes that teenagers are looking for as well,” Estep said.