By Lindsay Doty
On the back-to-school list next to the pre-sharpened pencils and odorless dry erase markers is a newcomer: kids masks.
With in-person classes starting up again in school districts like Avon and Brownsburg, parents and students are rushing to make sure they have enough protective gear for the daily mask requirement while sellers are trying to keep up with demand.
“We can’t keep them in stock. We run out every day. People keep coming in and asking if we have them,” says Nick Walters, manager at Team Sports in Brownsburg, his family’s business.
They just took another pre-sale order for the $6 kid masks.
“Last week we got so many calls for them. They sold out the day we got a new shipment in,” he says.
Managers of the shop that does embroidery and screen printing for team uniforms and schools were reluctant to re-stock the masks, thinking they sold most of them during the early days of the pandemic but they say the demand is higher than ever with local students returning to class.
“We are happy to get business. It’s getting some foot traffic and we are thankful for that after all we have been through,” said Walters who has two sons who started classes this week with the Avon Community School Corporation.
“My oldest son is a senior. It’s such an important year. He wasn’t thrilled about the mask but made sure it matched his outfit.”
From larger online retailers to Etsy types, the search for the right mask is in full swing.
Arianna Brown, who learned to sew from her mom, has been taking custom kid mask orders all week. She sells her masks at Michelle’s Boutique in Brownsburg and takes orders through her Instagram @Arianna.Celeste.
“The last few weeks have had the most back to school requests. Kids are requesting mostly sports-themed masks with school colors along with a ton of princess and Minecraft prints,” says Brown, 18, who started sewing and selling the masks as a side hustle during the pandemic.