Officials: Shop locally this weekend

Published 12:29 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The countdown to back-to-school is on, and Alabama’s 11th annual tax-free holiday starts Friday and runs through Sunday.

The Alabama Retail Association predicts that Alabamaians will spend more than $1 million on school supplies and clothes this weekend.

The ARA is hoping that more locals will purchase clothing items and supplies at local small businesses rather than the big box stores.

“Those who shop in Alabama strengthen the local economy, support friends and neighbors, and invest in the community,” ARA President Rick Brown said.

Locally there are plenty of places in which to purchase school supplies, including Walker Business, local pharmacies, grocery stores, dollar stores and even Walmart.

There are options locally for clothes, shoes and backpacks as well.

Pink Peppers, Town and Country, Upsy Daisy Children’s Boutique, Ward and Company, Cato, Factory Connection, Burke’s Outlet, Maurice’s, JCPenney, Goody’s, Shoe Department, Hibbett Sports, as well as Walmart.

Locally, Andalusia, Opp, Florala, Covington County, Red Level are waiving their sales taxes.

Gantt, River Falls and Sanford are not waiving theirs.

Those who participate in the weekend’s tax-free holiday will be able to save taxes on:

• school supplies valued at $50 or less;

• books less than $30 or less;

• clothing priced at $100 or less; and,

• computers and computer equipment costing less than $750.

Emilee Gage of the Opp Chamber of Commerce said that it’s important to shop at local businesses because they invest in children’s futures.

Chrissie Duffy, executive director of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce said, “Can you justify not shopping local? When you shop in Dothan, you’re paving Dothan’s roads. When you shop in Destin, you are supporting Destin’s schools. When you shop online, absolutely nothing comes back to our community.”

Duffy said the local businesses in this community are athletic boosters, they are buying ads in yearbooks, supporting dance teams and sponsoring all the events that make the local community great.

“They are our friends and neighbors,” she said. “More than half of the money we spend in our hometown is re-invested in our hometown. I would like to encourage everyone to give our local businesses the opportunity to show your what they have to offer first. When you consider what’s at stake, it’s quite costly to send that money elsewhere.”