Prattville business owners brace for tax increase

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Local business owners in Prattville are bracing for the one cent sales tax increase approved Tuesday night.

Merchants and others are working to make sure they keep their current customer base, especially those who shopped in Prattville because the sales tax rate had been lower than Montgomery.

Liz Paravicini and her brother Bill own Paravicini's Home Furnishings and Decor in Prattville.

She says her customer base is just as unique as what she sells.

"We have patrons as far north as Clanton; we have a tremendous base in Montgomery County, East Montgomery, and from Pike Road that drive all the way up here to shop with us," she said.

And it's that business she's worried about now that the sales tax will soon increase from 8.5% to 9.5%.

She said, "It kind of takes the edge away, especially for shoppers from Montgomery, because a half a percentage, with gas being as high as it is, is not necessarily a big draw anymore."

Randy Grissett, Chairman for the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, says he believes folks don't just shop in Prattville for the tax break.   But even so, they'll have to refocus some of their strategies.

"Anytime you have a change, it's something to be concerned about," Grissett said.  "We will have to come up with different ways to continue to invite people to come into Prattville to shop."

They'll also have to compete with neighboring cities like Wetumpka and Millbrook, who do have the lower rates.

"That may affect us some, but we have different offerings that other towns don't have for a town our size. We have large department stores all the way down to local vendors," Grissett added.

Back at Paravicini's, Liz hopes their relationship with repeat customers will help them retain business.

The sales tax increase will take effect May 1st.

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