August in Bakersfield means it's time for scorching summer temperatures, one last family vacation and everyone's favorite activity: back-to-school shopping.
School is almost in session, which means students, teachers and parents are heading to local retailers to get all the supplies on their list. On Thursday, several shoppers were in it's-almost-time-for-school mode while browsing through the back-to-school display at the Northwest Promenade Target.
Carly Rhodes, a supervisor at Cal State Bakersfield, has been through back-to-school shopping several times, not only with her own elementary-aged children, but previously as a teacher at Bakersfield City and Panama-Buena Vista school districts.
"I would always buy bulk of notebooks and other supplies for kids who didn't have it," she said. "Schools do provide you with supplies, but sometimes you want to have certain things in your class."
Rhodes said she used to spend anywhere between $300 to $400 on school supplies for her students.
Because she isn't in the classroom anymore, things have changed. She focuses more on her children's back-to-school shopping, which typically comes out to $250 when she buys clothes, supplies and other necessary items. She finished all her shopping in July, but she was browsing through displays with her daughter to see if there was anything she missed.
Target Store Director Yesenia Ramirez said the back-to-school display is a favorite among customers.
"Any time we start assembling the section they look at what's new," she said. "Items start to fly, our guests love it."
Many shoppers, such as Rebecca Been, used a teacher or school district generated supply list to help them know exactly what their children need in class. For her third grade son, Blake, teachers recommend a sturdy backpack, a set of multiplication flash cards, a few glue sticks and crayons and colored pencils.
"It's helpful because you know you're getting useful things," Been said. "My son that's in the eighth grade, there's no list but we basically know what to get."
Been is also a librarian in the Norris School District, so she was shopping for a few folders for new students.
In a recent survey conducted by TopCashback.com, a cross-section of 1,243 adults were polled and found that 41 percent plan to spend up to $500 per child.
Been quickly said she would be spending nowhere close to that amount. All together, she expects to spend about $100 for her sons' supplies.
The rise in online shopping has helped some parents and teachers save a few extra bucks on clothing and supplies. Though Bakersfield residents Courtney Eckard and her son, Lennox, who will begin his sophomore year at Centennial High School on Aug. 14, were shopping for basic supplies — mechanical pencils, lead and notebooks — in the store Thursday, she has utilized Amazon for previous purchases.
"I used to knock out all the shopping online," she said. "You don't have to worry about hoping (items are) in stock and sometimes it's cheaper. I have four kids so that helps."
With the first day of school quickly approaching, Lennox Eckard said he's "not really nervous" about what sophomore year will bring.
"I've been doing the same thing for nine years so I'm used to it," he said.
Fourth grader Emily Hager said she's looking forward to the start of the school year, where she will be in a third and fourth grade combination class, but she also feels some butterflies.
"There's a lot of people around in class and new people too," she said.
Family friend Denise Ashcraft, who is also a substitute teacher at the Panama-Buena Vista School District, reassured Hager it would be alright and shared first day memories of her own.
"The first day of school outfit was picked out a month in advance," Ashcraft laughed. "With my own kids I made sure all the clothes were washed ahead of time."