School uniforms going fast among St. Charles vendors

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 11, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 11, 2000

BOUTTE – The store was non-stop with activity, a healthy sign of a growing economy. However, the stock-in-trade was school uniforms.As the first day of school draws near in St. Charles Parish, uniform vendorsare busy trying to meet the demand of thousands of students having to wear uniforms for the first time.

Some stores have added uniforms to their clothing lines but are having trouble keeping up.

“There’s a lot of competition,” said one Boutte store operator who asked not to be identified.

There also appears to be some confusion as to what is being asked of them by the school uniform policy. “We’re having ‘designer’ uniforms,” anotherunidentified store employee said.

However, at The Uniform Place in Boutte, the four co-owners are taking their experience learned last year when Lafourche Parish launched its school uniform policy.

“We have two stores in Lafourche Parish,” said Amy Cantrelle, one of the co-owners. With approval of the St. Charles policy, the new store opened inBoutte in June.

“We try to stick with the basic uniforms,” added Cantrelle, who cautioned school administrators to stick to their guns in enforcement or word will get out fast about lax discipline.

“If they really enforce it, it’ll work in the long run,” she said.

Brett Garbo of Luling arrived with his 5-year-old, Tiffany, to prepare her for classes at A.A. Songy Kindergarten. It didn’t matter what was shown to her,she nodded approval to sales clerk Celeste Boudreaux.

The other owners of The Uniform Place are Jackie Lerille, Kelly Matherne and Melissa Rushing-Lawson.

“Between the four owners, we have 12 children,” added Rushing-Lawson. “Wetrade off a lot with clothes.”However, they look forward to many years supplying uniforms in St. CharlesParish and, with the recent closing of K-mart in Boutte, their business has only boomed.

And that’s even with the anticipated growth in garage sale business in uniforms as time goes by. “If you buy quality uniforms and care for themproperly, they’ll last eight years,” said Cantrelle.

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