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Tax-free weekend to aid shoppers

Peeble’s Department Store supervisors Amber Kennedy and Amy Elkins stock shoes in preparation for this weekend’s sales tax-free holiday. Local retailers expect a busy weekend as families do their last minute school shopping. | Nathan Strickland/FCT


Early and extended hours will be the name of the game as Alabama’s tax-free weekend rolls into Franklin County.

Red Bay and Russellville retailers have hopped on board and lifted their local taxes making the weekend a truly tax-free, two-day spree.

Retailers inside the Russellville Marketplace have high expectations for sales during the tax break days.

Peebles department store supervisors Amy Elkins and Amber Kennedy said people will hit stores early just to save a few cents.

“We will have specials going on early and people will be lined up waiting for us to unlock the doors to be the first to grab those items,” Kennedy said. “We have lots of extra stock brought in specifically for this weekend because you want to be able to provide everyone with what they want.”

Elkins said the rush to get items during this weekend reminds her of Black Friday.

“I’m expecting it to be similar to the day after Thanksgiving sale, which for us is the busiest day of the year,” Elkins said. “We have a lot of people who like to shop here in town and, instead of having to fight the large crowds in Florence, I believe they can get what they need and take advantage of the tax break at our store.”

Burke’s Outlet manager Sam Finley said she is expecting twice as much business as last year taking into account that her store has actually expanded since last year’s tax-free weekend.

“I hope we are overwhelmed with people,” Finley said. “We have already had people coming in and shopping for school supplies and I believe this weekend will really help bring in the crowd and I believe our store is stocked and ready.”

Burke’s Outlet expanded its store in October and this weekend store hours will be extended to better suit the consumer.

“Our prices are already reasonable I think and now that the taxes are coming off we should have items flying off the racks. One of our most popular styles in clothing has been anything with a peace sign, so I think those items will be on the top of everyone’s list,” Finley said. “Every penny counts in this economy and I’m sure people will come and take advantage of it.”

Although sports equipment did not make the list of tax-free items, Hibbett’s manager Jeremy Stowe said socks, shoes and apparel at the Russellville branch will be tax-free.

Burke’s Outlet employee Desirea McNatt stocks backpacks Tuesday in preparation for the weekend’s sales tax-free holiday. | Nathan Strickland/FCT


“It was tremendous down here last year when the weekend hit,” he said. “Even though we have been here for a couple of years now, I still have people come in and tell me they didn’t know we were here. I believe shoes will be a top priority for many parents as their children head back to school and since last year was so big, I imagine this year will be pretty much the same.”

Red Bay retailers are gearing up as well since the mayor and council passed a resolution in the spring to honor the weekend and charge no sales tax on school related items.

The 2010 Alabama Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday, Aug. 6 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday, Aug. 8 at midnight.