The back-to-school shopping season is critical for this small business

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When the pandemic forced schools to close and learning to move online last year, it brought a lot of change to those in the school supply business. Nneka Brown, founder and CEO of Innovative Supplies Worldwide, which makes artistic notebooks, saw her sales drop 60% as a result.

“A lot of teachers were not passing out in-person assignments, so a lot of parents were not buying school supplies and let the kids do everything through laptops,” she said in an interview with Marketplace’s David Brancaccio.

Brown said sales are starting to pick back up as families prepare for a return to the classroom this fall, but it’s not quite at the level it used to be.

“I am seeing a pickup. But I’m also seeing that a lot of students, parents and teachers alike are still hesitant to leave the digital [world] altogether,” she told Brancaccio.

Nneka Brown of…

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