It's high camp-shopping season every year from about March 1 to mid-April. Some camp stores on Long Island offer one-on-one service, helping select everything from clothing to bedding to stationery. Most stores include complimentary name-taping on every article of clothing you buy, including each sock. Some stores will even pack up junior's trunk for you.
"It's become a phenomenon," Jo Licker, Denny's camp accessories buyer, says of the camp shopping. When her kids, now in their 30s, went to sleepaway camp, they brought old towels and sheets. Not so with today's kids, she says. "They have millions of choices," she says. "Now, you have to have everything coordinated, make a statement."
ExploreLI went shopping with a few campers who booked a personal shopper:
Where: 8285 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury, 516-367-6014
A camp appointment lasts from 90 minutes to three hours, and includes free pizza, soda and cupcakes from Crumbs. Jenna Chase, 11, a fifth-grader from Jericho, recently shopped for the seven weeks she'll spend at Tyler Hill in Pennsylvania. She tried on outfit after outfit. "This is so me," Jenna says about one shirt. "Too glittery," she says, rejecting another with a pink sequin peace sign.
"The great part about this is it's not torture. It's fun," mother Debbie says. "I don't even have to stay. I can just leave my credit card and go."
Items purchased remain at the store. Owner Jackie Pezza will send each article out to be name-taped, then she will pack Jenna's trunk. Patrons get a 20 percent discount if they spend at least $400.
350 Rte. 110, Huntington Station (631-299-2222); 90 Northern Blvd., Greenvale (516-626-1161), lestersnyc.com
Manager Jenn Pesci meets campers with a red clipboard that has a printed list of the items camps recommend. Seven bathing suits, 10 pairs of shorts, 24 pairs of socks. "You just need a whistle around your neck," jokes mom Rebecca Matura of Sy Syosset, whose daughters, Logan, 14, and Blake, 10, shopped at the Huntington Station store for their eight weeks at Camp Timber Lake in New York.
Campers carry a laundry basket, popping in clothes to try on. Logan wanted to buy cropped T's, which are hot this year, she says. "There are 94 days until camp," she says. "It's the highlight of my year."
Customers who book a one-on-one appointment get 10 percent off purchases of $200 or more; for every $500 spent, they get a $25 gift certificate. Spending averages $1,000 a child, Pesci says.
343 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview (516-681-4490); 7954 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury (516-682-8215). Other locations in Bellmore, Cedarhurst, Commack and Oceanside, dennyschildrenswear.com
Asher Dauer, 9, knew exactly what he wanted to customize his bunk bed for his first year at Seneca Lake in Pennsylvania: University of Michigan bedding, because that's where his mom, Risa, went to school. He found it at Denny's in Plainview, where he and his older brother, Jacob, 12, spent hours shopping with saleswoman Anne Dellatto for clothing, bathing suits and more. Across the store, Halle Zelin, 8, was trying on shorts with mom, Melissa, during her appointment; in her pile of goods was a pair of shorts and a tank top Denny's had airbrushed with "Camp Lokanda," where Halle will go for the first time for seven weeks.
Through April 11, people who spend $350 at a camp appointment get an additional 10 percent off already reduced prices, Licker says.
NEIL'S CORNER SPOT
8025 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury (516-364-3942); 1063 Willis Ave., Albertson (516-294-4425), neilscornerspot.com
Neil's specializes in camp items for boys, carrying Nike, adidas and Reebok - plus jerseys and team gear. The store sells mats for next to the bed and banners that can be put up in the room. "We literally do from bunk to trunk, everything they need for camp," says Michael Tucciarone, manager at the Albertson store. "We sew their name in every piece; they get it back folded, and they're literally ready to pop it in the trunk and go to camp."