The Back-to-School Rush 'Like Christmas' at The Classmate
The popular Evergreen Park store draws teachers, students and parents and is in the throes of its busiest time of year.
Those who have recently visited the jam-packed The Classmate school supply store may have indeed made their lists and checked them twice.
But rather than keeping track of who is naughty or nice, they are looking for pencils, pens, notebooks, classroom decorations and more -- all of the staples that teachers, parents and students scramble to find this time of year.
It's time to go back to school.
"This is like Christmas time," said store owner Gail Sullivan with a laugh during a busy day at the store this week. "There's no better way to describe it."
The excitement and anticipation has definitely begun for shoppers who tend to start swarming the store in the afternoons and early evening -- especially for schools on the Track E schedule in Chicago, Sullivan said. Those students start school on Monday, Aug. 13.
The Classmate has been in business for 26 years.
"We always have the newest products available for our customers," Sullivan said.
Teachers weren't the only ones checking out The Classmate's wares.
Kyle Good, 8, and his big sister Shannon, 14, stopped by to take a look at a microscope Kyle wants.
"He's into science," Shannon explained.
Kyle was just price-checking and decided that he needs to save up a bit more.
It's not unusual for a range of people come by the store for their school supply needs, said Sarah Williquette, office supply manager.
"Parents, teachers and students come here to shop for [going] back to school," she said.
The Classmate has been a longtime stop for Morgan Park Academy teacher Kathy Keelan. She has been a second-grade teacher for 17 years and wanted to spruce up a new classroom she moved into this year.
"My classroom has to be perked up," Keelan said as she pondered a decoration displaying the alphabet in cursive. "There are so many choices."