Sales Tax Holiday a big hit with city merchants

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

They came, they bought, they saved. Hundreds of back-to-school shoppers streamed into local businesses last weekend to take advantage of the state's first Sales Tax Holiday. The event officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning and ended at midnight on Sunday night.

Sales taxes were waived on many items, including clothing and accessories, back-to-school supplies, books and computers.

&#8220Dynamite” was the word manager Bill McCrary used to describe response to the Sales Tax Holiday at the Greenville Super Wal-Mart.

&#8220It was very, very good. We sold a lot of merchandise in every category we featured in the sale – computers, clothes, supplies, everything school-oriented.”

McCrary couldn't release specific numbers but did say the Sales Tax Holiday &#8220exceeded expectations.”

At Fred's Discount Store in Greenville, Manager Randy Beeson was also pleased with weekend business at the store.

&#8220It wasn't as great as I thought it might be, but we still had really good numbers, about a 30 percent increase.”

Beeson said Fred's had &#8220a lot of really good sale prices” in effect last week that helped draw customers into his business.

&#8220It was the good, basic school supplies and the new uniforms we are offering, high-quality uniforms at affordable everyday low prices, that folks were really eating up.”

The Fred's store manager said the store had strong sales Friday and moderate sales on Saturday before things &#8220blew out the doors” on Sunday.

&#8220We were incredibly busy Sunday just to be opened a half-day. I guess some folks were waiting ‘til the last minute to shop.”

McCrary said he is appreciative the city and county decided to participate in the state's inaugural Sales Tax Holiday.

&#8220This is something other states like Florida have been doing for a while and it certainly went well here,” McCrary said.

&#8220Obviously, lots of folks were out shopping and taking advantage of the event. I'm proud of Gov. Riley and the other powers that be for choosing to do this. We don't want Alabamians who live close to the borders to go to other states to get this kind of deal.”

Beeson said he believes the event could draw even more shoppers if offered again in 2007.

&#8220Like anything new, it takes a little while to catch on. I think it will really pick up next year, now that people see how much they can save with this,” the Fred's manager said.

&#8220I don't even have school-age children, and my family and I spent about $200 on clothes we needed and saved on the taxes. It's a great deal.”