Local News

8/7/2013

Retailers plan for tax-free holiday

By MARTIN RAND III The Brunswick News

Seaquels Boutique in Glynn Place Mall recorded record sales last weekend, just days before the start of public school in Glynn County Thursday.

But hold on - co-owner Hannah Shawalter says the business could top even that Friday and Saturday, Georgia's sales tax holiday for most back to school purchases.

In Glynn County, that will be a savings of 6 percent, the amount of sales tax paid on the dollar, plus whatever other discount store owners will offer.

Shawalter says the business will match the sales tax discount on everything in the store that is covered under the holiday. Items not covered also will be discounted.

"Oh yes, I expect it to be crazy in here this weekend," said Shawalter. "(Customers) will be more prepared with what they want this weekend."

That preparedness comes from parents going to open houses at school this week, and students starting back a day before the holiday starts and receiving back-to-school lists, says Shawalter.

"They were buying blindly (last weekend)," says Shawalter. "This weekend, they'll come with a plan."

Seaquels Boutique carries new and used clothes for children to teen ages. It also has some back to school merchandise such as book bags.

Tax-free items include clothing items and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less, school supplies with a sales of price of $20 or less, and computers and computer-related accessories with a sales price of $1,000.

"I think it's an incentive for everyone to come out because they're already getting a discount," said Shawalter.

Mindy Overly also expects to feel the benefits of the sales tax holiday at her store, Meo's Suites, 311 Mallery St., St. Simons Island.

The holiday has traditionally been a good time for business for her store, which sells junior clothing, because that 6 percent discount is a huge difference, Overly says.

The first 4 cents on the dollar is the state sales tax. The fifth penny covers the Local Option Sales Tax, which goes to reduce property taxes in the city and county, and the sixth penny is the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for education.

"People say 6 percent isn't a lot, but it really is," said Overly, the mother of a 13-year-old. "When you're buying school clothes and supplies, it all adds up."

Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce President Woody Woodside encourages Glynn County residents to shop in state, which is the purpose of the sales tax holiday.

Florida observed its sales tax holiday last weekend.

"I think it's great," said Woodside. "The whole intent was to encourage people to buy in Glynn County."

* Reporter Martin Rand III covers local news. Contact him at mrand@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook, or at 265-8320, ext. 324.