Nelson elementary schools provide parents an opportunity to purchase school supplies... most are from out of town suppliers.

Purchasing plans questioned for Nelson schools

As parents get their children’s bags packed for this week’s return to school, some elementary schools have it covered by bulk orders

As parents get their children’s bags packed for this week’s return to school, some elementary schools have it covered by bulk orders coming from out of town.

This out of town shopping has local providers concerned for their bottom line.

Andy Cowan, owner of Cowan Office Supplies says it distresses him that these orders aren’t filled by a local provider.

“I would definitely like to see these schools shop local,” he said. “Any time dollars go out of the community, it’s not a good thing.”

Cowan said his business is “good about supporting schools with donations” and offers scholarships to local kids.

He would like to see those efforts recognized with school and parental support of his office supply store.

In offering supplies to parents, Blewett Elementary shops around from Teacher File out of Courtney, BC, Hall’s Basics in Trail and Cowan Office Supplies in Nelson. South Nelson shops at Hall’s Basics in Trail and both Hume and Rosemont order through Teacher File. St. Joseph School orders from Cowans.

Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson said it’s disappointing that some schools look outside the region to purchase school supplies. Local businesses want the opportunity to be competitive and will offer up bulk quotes. It’s in their best interest to do so.

“Back to school shopping can be a major boost for the small business retail sector. It is second only to Christmas in terms of importance for many retailers,” Thomson said. “These local stores and community members are the same ones some of these folks count on to help support local fundraising efforts. You very seldom see a team sponsored by or a donation made from an out of area business. Local businesses also pay plenty of taxes that support local government and school districts.”

At Rosemont, ordering supplies is part of a Parent Advisory Council fundraiser and Robyn Price says Teacher File makes it easy for her as a volunteer stepping up to help. In year two of the fundraiser, time strapped teachers didn’t have to make up supply lists only check if revisions were needed after last year’s order.

“This was spoon fed to us —made so easy,” Price said. “It’s a good-intentioned thing that makes it easier for parents in a school system that’s strapped for time and money.”

Teacher File provides 10 per cent of the order to PAC that then goes to buy supplies for kids who can’t afford them otherwise.

Price supports shopping locally when possible but didn’t find it an efficient option.

“I know people do take issue — I get that,” she said. “But then some cutting-edge local company should approach us with a deal all put together… If a local business wants our business, come sell it to me.”

Price points out that spending through Teacher File still supports the provincial economy.

Offering competitive prices, Teacher File is a big supplier of general materials to area schools as well. Superintendent Jeff Jones says Kootenay Lake School District does have a policy to purchase locally, whenever and wherever possible.

“However, the school district’s first consideration must be value for money spent. For this reason, local suppliers and contractors will be given preference only as other conditions are comparable,” he said.

Jones explained the district is accountable to the public to spend limited dollars in the most economical way possible.

“Sometimes our local providers can’t give us close to the same costs it would be to purchase elsewhere,” he said.

Schools make the decision where to shop independently.

 

Just Posted

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Judgment reserved in Nakusp school sex trial

Trial concluded today with lawyer’s summations

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Genelle ‘vehicle incident’ under RCMP investigation

Regional firefighters respond to car fire Sunday night

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Leafs down Border Bruins in penalty-filled game

Logan Wullum stole the show for Nelson in the 4-1 win

SKI TIPS: The key to skiing in heavy powder

Whitewater Ski Team coach Dylan Henderson shows how to navigate powder with ease

Leafs’ five-game winning streak snapped by Nitehawks

Nelson fell 4-1 on the first of three straight games this weekend

The book club master

Nelson’s Hazel Mousley takes book clubs to the next level

Glacier freezes competition in Spokane

The gymnastics club returned home with 35 medals

Remembering the man who carved Nelson’s iconic welcome signs

Art Waldie did the majority of the work on the signs in the 1970s

LVR Bombers fundraising for 3 players

Rugby teams hope to help trio of students go on tour in March

Most Read