If you're a parent of a child in grades K-12, you're no doubt exhausted from the hectic juggernaut of back-to-school shopping. Just the thought of entering the fray again is enough to send you into a fetal position.
Forgo Walmart and Best Buy and opt for local retailers who are hosting sales galore with personalized service on affordable, barely used (and some new) items.
You can even get that buggy laptop repaired or pick up a pair of uniform khakis for free.
Funky Town Boutique
5114 Gulfport Blvd. S, Gulfport
Ohio native and Gulfport resident Jackie Kreuter so fondly remembered her favorite consignment shop, the Snooty Fox in Cincinnati, that she grew up fantasizing about opening her own store one day. It took a few decades, but she made her dream come true by taking over the Funky Town Boutique in Gulfport. An above-and-beyond business owner who makes you feel good about shopping local, Kreuter regularly gives away — yes, for free — shirts and khakis required for elementary school uniforms. She is also collecting school supplies for distribution to area schools, so bring pens, pencils, and backpacks, too. The shop has a separate department for slightly second-hand children's clothes with name brands like Gymboree and Justice, and a separate boutique section with a variety of gowns at eye-poppingly affordable prices. Funky Town's formalwear is a favorite for locals attending Gulfport's Gecko Ball at the end of the month. Kreuter can tell you about all the Geckofest-related fun stuff in Gulfport as she's very plugged in to her community. She displays business cards in the front of the store to promote other Gulfport boutiques. If you mention you're shopping for back-to-school clothing, you can get a 20 percent discount at checkout through Aug. 20. Moms, the shop is also hosting a "Coach Bag Blowout Sale" through the end of August.
908 First Ave N, St. Petersburg
Did your teen's laptop go kablooey at this most crucial time? Visit the local lovable geek squad at Computer Qwerx to get it fixed. Service is professional, friendly and personalized. On common repairs, their flat fee is around a third of what the Best Buy Geek Squad charges, and the store stocks refurbished laptops and printers if you need to grab something affordable in a hurry. Customer Kate Murphy praises owner Bill Ledsome for being "patient and not condescending" and "a workaholic willing to work with your workaholic schedule." The shop will give you a 10 percent off through Aug. 31 if you tell them you're shopping for back to school. It also offers a neighborhood discount to downtown St. Pete residents and businesses.
Reruns 4 Little Ones
8802 Rocky Creek Drive, Tampa
Listen up, parents of preschool and elementary school kids: Reruns 4 Little Ones is a great stop for quality used clothing, priced low. This little Tampa institution has been going strong for a little more than a decade in the Town 'N Country area. Impeccably stitched, crisp-cotton shirts and dresses are available at less than $30 apiece. Brands include Children's Place, Serendipity, Matilda Jane, Nike and more. Tags are marked at 20 percent, 50 percent and 75 percent off retail prices. Shop from infant to children's size 10 for clothes. Sneakers and school uniforms are top-sellers. Ccheck out the Mompreneurs Corner on Reruns' website, which has unique items typically available only sites like Pinterest or Etsy.