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Tax-free days draw crowds to businesses

Clothing, school items popular with parents

POSTED: August 15, 2012 2:30 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Amber Diver, right, shops for clothes with daughter Carly Saturday at Kohl’s.

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Gwen Falkowski and her family took full advantage of last weekend’s sales tax holiday in Georgia.

“We’re out because it’s a tax-free day and we wanted to get some [school] uniforms, so we just waited until this weekend,” said Falkowski while browsing items Saturday at Old Navy on Market Place Boulevard in Cumming.

While public school students headed back to class on Aug. 9, Falkowski said her children, who are home schooled but go two days a week to a home-school group, won’t begin until Aug. 21.

“We waited to buy until this weekend,” she said. “It just happened to hit us just right this year.”

For Amber Diver, who shopped Saturday at Kohl’s on Market Place Boulevard, the timing of the weekend could have been better.

“I probably could have taken advantage of more stuff if it had been [Aug. 3 and 4], but this works,” she said while searching for school clothes for her two daughters.

“There’s nothing like a coupon and a 7 percent savings on top of it.”

Retailers were prepared for big crowds for the tax-free event, which began at midnight Friday and ended Saturday night. It spared shoppers sales tax on clothing items up to $100, school supplies and some electronics.

It was the first sales tax holiday since 2009.

According to a study by the Georgia Retail Association, the holiday period was expected to increase economic activity throughout the state by at least $475 million.

“It was busy and we did have a lot of customers,” said Lisa Mallard, manager of Old Navy. “We were just as busy if not more so than we were in 2009.

“It was all hands on deck.”

Larry Wilkerson, manager of Kohl’s, said Saturday was busier than Friday, but both days drew crowds.

“Of course the kids are out of school today since school started Thursday,” he said while directing customers to check-out lines. “So a lot of parents are out shopping with their kids today.”

According to Wilkerson, the store’s summer items were “just flying out” of the store.

“It’s still hot outside in Georgia, so the shorts and the tank tops and all that stuff are still very popular items,” he said.

Mallard said some of Old Navy’s biggest sellers included items such as khaki pants and polo shirts that can be used as school uniforms as well as “basic denim and T-shirts.”

Added Wilkerson, “It’s all about the clothes.”

Some customers also took advantage of electronic items, such as personal and tablet computers, which were tax-free up to $1,000.

Falkowski said her family was among them.

“We bought a computer … we definitely wanted to get that tax-free discount,” she said.

Karen Dorner took her kids out to shop for a birthday gift for their father.

“We’re shopping for him, but we also came into [Old Navy] to get a couple of things for the kids for back to school, too,” she said. “We were going to buy a computer, but the limit is $1,000 and we’re buying over that so that was kind of a bummer.”

Like Diver, Dorner appreciated the holiday but wished it had fallen a little earlier.

“It’s good that Georgia does that, and I think they need to have it every year,” she said. “If I were going to suggest something, I’d say make it right before school starts so you can save on your school supplies because everybody has to get those.”

 

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