Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back to School Shopping at the Shops at Montebello

Besides an occasional venture out to Macys and JCPenny to shop for myself, here is the extent of my typical mall experience:

• Enter through Macy’s Home.
• Stop at the Children’s Place, Gymboree, and the Disney Store.
• 15 - 20 minutes in the play area.
• Stop at the Customer Service desk to check for coupons/flyers.
• Go home.

When the Shops at Montebello contacted me and said they reserved a $100 Visa gift card for me to use for Back to School shopping, frankly, I was hesitant. Accepting the gift card would mean that I would have to venture out of my comfort zone of five stores and into unknown territory. However, the prospect of a $100 shopping spree was too good to pass up, so I gladly accepted.

 My kid’s closets were full of school uniforms so my goal was to get play and after school clothes for all three, while stretching the $100 as far as possible.

We made a point of visiting most every store that carries children's clothing or shoes. We visited Journeys, the HQ, Gap Kids, Vans, Justice, PacSun, Kids Foot Locker, Gymboree, The Children's Place, The Disney Store, Hot Topic, and Brooks Shoes for Kids.

My first purchase was at the Vans store on the lower level. A sales associate measured my toddler’s feet and brought out these pink/black plaid lace-up cuties. I slipped them on my little one and she happily danced around the store a bit. I was pleased to see they were on sale for $19.97.

My next stop was across the way at Justice, a clothing store for girls. Before venturing too far into the store I asked a sales assistant if my first grader would fit into the clothes. She said the sizes start at a six and shared that the entire store was 40% off including the clearance items.

My daughter was awe-struck by the pink and glitter, so I took her by the hand and pushed the stroller toward the sales racks in the back of the store. We found two plain t-shirts for $3.95 each and a sparkly pink top for $9.35.

On the other side of the store was an underwear section that can rivals Macys. Although only five, my daughter immediately gravitated toward the bras and started picking out designs. I told her that she was too small for them to which she grumpily said, "Humph!" Inside I cringed at the thought of her growing up and relived awkward memories of bra shopping with my father at the age of 12. I pushed both thoughts from my mind and we settled for two pairs of boy shorts underwear at $5.10 each.

While I was in Justice with the girls my husband took our son to Pac Sun. The styles were great but my son was too small for the clothes they carry. When he grows into a size 14-16 he’ll be a perfect fit and we’ll return.

Upstairs I was lured into The Children’s Place by a sign that read, “Spend $40, and get $20 Place Cash”. I love shopping at Children’s Place because the store always has great coupon offers. I had a 15% off coupon and I receive an additional 10% off all purchases with my Children’s Place credit card.

My son found two pairs of what he calls “comfy pants”. A wind-pant for $10.71 and a pair of mesh pants for $6.95. He also liked a soft hooded zip jacket for $22.92. I cleared the $40 minimum purchase to get the $20 coupon, and I plan to head back next week to buy him a winter jacket.

I promised my son that if we had any money left over I would buy him an Angry Birds t-shirt. I was hoping he would forget but of course, he remembered. Downstairs we visited the Toys Unlimited Kiosk and picked up a green King Pig shirt for $13.04.

 It was dinner time and there was still about $30 remaining on the card. Since I spent $40 of my own money at the Children’s Place I figured we could use up the rest at Marie Callender’s on the lower level for dinner. On Tuesdays and Saturdays the restaurant offers one free kid’s meal for every adult entrée purchased, saving us $10. The kids had macaroni and cheese, chicken strips, and cheeseburger sliders. I had a soup and sandwich and my husband chose a salad, pasta, and pie combo. All five of us dined for $34.

We left the mall with full bellies, and ten children’s clothing items. Visiting the new-to-me stores was a fun experience. I didn’t pay full price for anything and I hope to leave bra shopping for my daughter off my to-do list for many a year. Thank you Shops at Montebello!

This post does not necessarily represent Simon Property Group's positions, strategies or opinions.

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