Orangeburg retailers are anticipating larger crowds this sales tax holiday as shoppers search for savings amid rising prices.
The sales tax-free weekend begins Friday, Aug. 5 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 7.
At Goldstein’s on Russell, a hot back-to-school item is expected to be clear book bags.
The bags are going to come in handy because the Orangeburg County School District is now requiring elementary school students to have clear book bags. Middle and high school students in the district are already required to have clear book bags as part of a districtwide effort to enhance safety.
Goldstein’s owner Jerry Hannah said he has a full stock of clear book bags.
“Clear book bags right here,” Hannah said. “Not a lot of people have them.”
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“A person came in here and said, ‘Atlanta is out of them,'” he continued. “That is what I was told. They come and tell you.”
He’s also got school uniforms, face masks, jackets, sweaters and more.
But he said supply shortages are a challenge.
“The key to the whole thing is not only clear book bags are in short supply, but all school uniforms are in short supply,” he continued. “We have already back ordered our sweaters and jackets for four weeks. We don’t know what to expect the date of that.”
Hannah said pretty much all of the merchandise in the store will be tax free as the store sells a lot of college merchandise.
He’s ready for whatever the weekend may bring.
“You have to expect a good crowd,” he said. “If not, then if you get one you will be in bad shape. The expectation is for persons to come and shop in numbers.”
COVID held down the number of shoppers last year, but “this year they are in full bloom,” Hannah said.
“We anticipate the amount of sales to rise,” he said. “We are ready for that.”
During the sales tax holiday, eligible items can be purchased online and in-store without paying the state’s 6% sales tax and any applicable local taxes.
Tax-free items include computers, printers, school supplies, book bags, clothing and accessories, shoes and certain bed and bath items. These tax-free items can be new or used and are eligible regardless of price.
Items that are not tax-free during the sales tax holiday include digital cameras, smartphones, jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches and furniture.
Last year, South Carolina shoppers bought more than $24.5 million in tax-free items during the sales tax holiday
Prince of Orange Mall’s Jimmy Jazz Store Manager Alanda White is expecting more foot traffic this weekend.
“We have been pretty busy so far, so we are expecting maybe a little bit more traffic than we have been getting the past two weeks,” White said. “The past two weeks have been really busy.”
There will be sales during the weekend and the store is increasing staffing.
“A lot of people are already shopping. We are going to get some more merchandise and kind of push out what we are trying to liquidate in our store,” he said.
Belk Human Resource Manager Demetrius Chisolm said, “We are expecting a good bit of people this weekend because we normally get busy this time of year, especially for this weekend.”
The store is holding a Kids Fest event from noon to 3 pm Saturday, including raffles, coupon opportunities, children’s activities and sales on kids’ clothing, especially denim. There will also be refreshments.
Chisolm, who has been at the store for four years, says the sales tax-free weekend is a big one for the store.
“It is one of the biggest weekends for this time of year for us,” he said. “We had a hiring event three weeks ago in preparation for this week coming up. We are staffed nicely right now. It is preparing us for the holiday season as well. This is the kick-off.”
For a detailed list of tax-free items, shopping lists, and FAQs, visit this story at TheTandD.com.