No-tax seasonPublished 9:29pm Friday, August 2, 2013
As the first day of school looms large in the minds of students and parents, some local proprietors say they are trying to ease the back-to-school burden by absorbing city and county taxes today, despite the City of Atmore and Escambia County not participating in the annual tax-free weekend.
Carl’s The Tot Shop on North Main Street, as well as Just For Kids on Presley Street, are both offering tax-free merchandise this weekend and both store managers say the special offer is more about helping customers than making a profit.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to help out just a little bit,” Tot Shop owner Carl Anderson said. “Why wouldn’t we do it?”
Escambia County has never taken part in the tax-free holiday, which provides customers with an annual break from state sales tax, but leaves the suspension of city and county taxes up to local officials. Atmore Mayor Jim Staff said the city chose not to participate this year because the tax-break has not made a substantial difference in past years.
Just For Kids manager Janice Peterson said the difference for her store is found in rewarding a loyal customer base.
“I do it only to help my customers,” Peterson said. “They’ve been really good to us and they’re loyal. They’ve been with us a long time.”
Anderson also said the decision to not charge the 4-cent city sales tax and the 1-cent county tax is one he made to help customers have an incentive to not travel the sixty-or-so miles to Mobile or Pensacola to purchase products.
“We’re tax-free on everything,” Anderson said. “Even what is not school related. Even thought the city is not participating, we are just going to do it. Gas is expensive and our products are not far off the prices (in Pensacola or Mobile).”
On Friday, Peterson said she was already seeing a “rush” at Just For Kids, especially in the school uniform department.
“We’ve been on it all day,” she said. “We haven’t even stopped for lunch. We have had to pack the orders in between the rushes.”
Peterson said, in addition to the tax break, her store is also offering a layaway program for all school uniforms.
The tax-free shopping opportunities were available Friday and can be found throughout the day today at both locations. The Tot Shop will be open today from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Just For Kids will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.