21 January, 2023
Behind the scenes of back to school
BACK to school time is one of the busiest times for local businesses, especially for David and Connie Graham at Far North Office Choice.
The “not-so-small anymore” business supplies stationery and books to schools across the Tablelands, Cairns, Cooktown and the Cape, meaning the team spends almost a year preparing for the big rush.
So far, back to school orders have a waiting list of one week and David says they have increased staff and hours to ensure everyone gets their supplies as soon as possible.
“Our stock value nearly triples compared to what we normally carry and that is quite significant - we have supplies overflowing through our store,” he said.
“We employ a lot of uni students who come back to back to school time and a few students over their holidays to help pack book orders every year.
“We even do a night shift where most of our uni students help pack orders.”
Preparing for back to school starts in March, where David and the team begin deciding what stock to carry and see what they are selling.
Throughout the year, they reach out to schools to put together their books lists or supply orders.
“We look at what the schools have been using and we take to the schools and have meetings with them and staff and discuss what would be good products to sell,” he said.
“We make them aware of things that are sensitive to certain children. So sometimes we may need to provide things that are latex free, for instance, because we might have a child that has an allergy to latex.
“There's a lot that goes into it and then the tender process goes out with the schools who then request pricing on the school packs.”
Although it’s a long and tedious process, David and his team are proud to be supplying teachers and students across the region with the best supplies, making their first day back at school easier.
For the employee’s, the end of the back to school rush is their favourite and David ensures they are rewarded for their efforts.
“My favourite part is the end of the back to school rush when I take all my employees out for a nice dinner and a drink to show my appreciation for all the hard work and extra hours, they put in to make this time of year easier,” he said.
Far North Office Choice is located on 1 Jack Street, Atherton and is open 8.30am to 5pm from Monday to Friday and 8.30pm on Saturday.