Across North Texas, students went back to the classroom this week, but it wasn’t a holiday for some school administrators and parents who were frantically looking for a new school uniform supplier during the break.
The closure of Texas-based Parker School Uniforms left families scrambling, but it also opened a window of opportunity for local uniform suppliers.
“There are some schools in Texas and across the United States that have no uniform providers at all; where Parker was the only provider in that town,” said Julie Batycki with Educational Outfitters and Academic Outfitters.
The three Academic Outfitters locations in North Texas (Plano, Haltom City and Arlington) have seen a significant number of phone calls and inquiries from parents and school administrators looking for uniforms. They expect those numbers to rise even more in the weeks to come and especially in the summer before the next school year.
“Those schools can't just go to Kohl's or Kmart or Target or whatever to get their uniforms. They have to go and get exactly what's prescribed for their school,” Batycki said. “In North Texas, it's creating an immediate scramble for schools to find a new provider.”
Batycki said they could see an initial increase of around 10,000 students needing uniforms.
The change could also have an economic impact on the communities served by the local uniform stores. Stores will likely have to hire more people to keep up with demand and the Plano store is already thinking about adding additional days of operations during the busy summer season before the next school year.
“With the growth that we are picking up with the demise of Parker we’ll definitely have to hire more people so there will be more jobs,” Batycki said.
Some local store owners said they will engage former Parker employees who are unemployed for openings.
The manager at Affordable Uniforms of Dallas said they have had limited calls but expect an uptick this week as schools get back into session.