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Stores expecting big tax-free weekend turnout

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As schools and colleges transition back to in-person learning, Alabama shops are prepping for a big tax free weekend, according to the Alabama Retail Association.

“This year’s sales tax holiday will provide momentum for Alabama’s continued economic recovery,” president Rick Brown said in a press release.

Most school-related items, which include clothing, books, electronics and more, will be exempt from the 4% state sales tax July 16-18.

Academy Sports and Outdoors in Montgomery said it has been preparing for weeks for the anticipated surge of back-to-school shoppers.

“They’ve been spending a lot of time getting everything nice and neat and organized for our customers,” Academy sales manager Megan Rodgers said.

The manager tells us she has seen more shoppers roaming the aisles.

“I think people are really excited to get back into schools, so that means new gear, right?” she said.

The sporting goods store carries backpacks and lunchboxes, which qualify for the tax exemption.

“Everybody doesn’t really think about shoes, but you need them,” Rodgers said.

Lisa Christain was searching through the backpack aisle Thursday with her children. Dalton, 9-years-old, just finished a year of mostly virtual learning, and Ella, 5-years-old, is starting kindergarten.

“I’m trying to get a head start,” Christain said on back-to-school shopping.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see what they [schools] do, what the plans are, how they’re going to keep everyone safe,” she said on COVID-19. Both her children will be in-person this year, which is why she is searching for supplies.

Montgomery Public Schools said it will provide all students with “basic, consumable school supplies.” The school system listed: paper, pencils, markers, notebooks and crayons.

“We wanted to lighten the load for parents heading into the school year,” Dr. Ann Roy Moore, MPS’ superintendent said in a release. “We know that many are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID, and we are glad to be able to provide some assistance.”

The Alabama Retail Association hopes the public will “#ShopAlabama.”

“Shopping with businesses that have a physical presence in your local area keeps businesses open and your neighbors employed,” Brown said.

Opelika Main Street is also encouraging residents to shop local this weekend.

“During the sales tax holiday, take the opportunity to visit downtown Opelika merchants,” executive director Ken Ward said in a release. “By shopping local, you help to support your neighbors and friends while ensuring that dollars stay in our community.”

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