With Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday here this weekend, many local business are preparing for increased sales.
Maggie Bennett owns Ruffle Me This Children’s Boutique in Cookeville. She said she did not realize the importance of supporting local business before she came to own her own.
“Shopping local is huge,” Bennett said. “It’s something I didn’t even really pay attention to or understand before we owned Ruffle Me This. So, now that I’m a local business owner myself, I understand how important it is to support other local businesses.”
Charles Bell is the owner of Compugeeks in Sparta. He said the holiday typically boosts local business’ sales.
“Historically it has,” Bell said. “With what’s going on these days, it’s hard to guess what’s going to happen. In the past, yes, it’s been a good boost of a weekend.”
Mike Austin, President of Cookeville’s Cardinal Computer, said he usually does around a month’s worth of sales over Sales Tax Holiday. He said he has received a lot of interest in what computers he has available heading into this weekend.
“We are expecting, from the interest we’ve seen, for a lot of our Apple Computers to sell,” Austin said.
The Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01am July 31 and goes through Sunday. Exempt items include clothing under $200 each, school and art supplies under $200 each, and computers and electronics under $3,000.
Bennett said she’s not expecting any one huge seller. She said she is pushing her stock to the floor and has a large selection of merchandise.
“We make sure everything we have in stock and in the store is out and on the floor,” Bennett said. “We carry lots of different types of clothing and accessories. We have shoes and backpacks. I think it’s going to be a good mix of everything.”
Shopping local allows for a more personal retail experience, according to Austin. He said that experience also allows greater customer service.
“Anybody can hand you a box with a computer inside,” Austin said. “But when you have a question or problem, you may not even know who you are going to call. That’s where we come in: Local support and service, not having to ship it out, or talk to someone overseas. But just being able to talk to the same person that cashed your check gives you some control over the situation.”
Austin said in addition to Cardinal Computer’s showroom being open, he also has curbside service available for those wanting to social distance during the weekend.
Bell said right now is a critical time to support local businesses. With the lingering economic effects of the COVID pandemic, he said many small businesses are struggling.
“It’s extremely important, especially right now,” Bell said. “We could look up and all of our small businesses could be out of business. And the people that work at those small businesses are going to be out of jobs, and it’s going to trickle down and not be good for a lot of people.”
Exempt items sold online are also eligible for the Sales Tax Holiday. However, those items must be purchased for personal use, not for business or trade.