Family school supply business prepares for students return amid the pandemic

Layoffs and the uncertainty of the pandemic have certainly been difficult for the family.
PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Back to school time is the best time at Becker's School Supplies in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

"This is our Christmas for sure," said Paul Becker, director of sales.

The 94-year-old family business sells supplies directly to schools.

"Really busy all hands on deck," said Ryan Becker.

CEO Louis Becker pointed out two busts in the entryway of the office.

"That's actually my grandfather and grandmother, the founders of the company back in 1928," Louis said.

The first generation started out in Philadelphia, moving to several locations before crossing the river to New Jersey.

"My grandfather started us. He had nine children. My dad was the youngest of nine," said Paul. "My dad had 13. Uncle Al had eight. Uncle Charlie had 12. Aunt Anne had seven."

The Becker's have seen a lot of changes over the years. They note their most challenging time was when they were located in Northeast Philadelphia and hit by a tornado.

But layoffs and the uncertainty of the pandemic have certainly been difficult for the family.

"We service schools. If they're shut down, who do we send the supplies to?" asked Ryan Becker.

Last summer, the family saw school orders change a shift toward individualized supplies and set-ups.

"Instead of selling a large table, we sold more small individual desks," said Paul.

Like many industries, the supply chain remains a challenge.

Third and fourth-generation family members work at the store now, and they're hoping to keep the tradition rolling.

"We're fortunate because now we have the fourth generation coming in which I thought I was smart and fast- these guys are way smarter and faster than I am- so our future is pretty bright," Louis said.

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