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Small businesses prepare for Sales Tax Holiday

When you think of the Sales Tax Holiday weekend, your thoughts may automatically turn to the big name stores with racks upon racks of inventory and clothes and shoes for multiple ages all under one roof.

Those aren’t the only places to get your back-to-school shopping done this weekend. Small businesses across the state have prepared for this weekend, and are aiming to bring the hometown feel to your shopping experience.

“Our big items during the holiday are shoes and backpacks,” said Ashley Dees, manager at Claude Julian’s in Kosciusko. The store is over 30 years old. Dees said they’ve learned a lot in the last 9 years about how to prepare for the sales tax-free weekend.

“We make sure we’re stocked up on our jeans and shoes,” said Dees. “But we have also learned to be patient with the customer and work with them so they can get all they need.”

While the cut-off for tax-free eligibility is $100, the salespeople at Claude Julian’s will often sell an item over $100 without charging the customer sales tax, and will then pay the tax themselves.

“We have a lot of great items that last a long time for over $100,” said Dees. “So we’ll eat the sales tax in order to meet the needs of the customer.”

Paperdoll in Flowood appeals to a different price point, with many items priced at or below $50.

“But we’ll run specials and discounts this weekend,” said Paula Menear, manager of Paperdoll. “If you spend $75, we’ll knock off $10.”

Menear said this gives the shopper’s budget a little more wiggle room.

The manager also added that shopping locally brings a completely different shopping experience that you won’t find at bigger stores.

“Yes, we’re across from stores like Old Navy and Target,” said Menear. “And they have a bigger inventory. But what we have, we hand pick for the modern, modest woman. And we have someone here to help you pick out the right outfit for back-to-school or work.”

The store schedules overlapping shifts on Friday and Saturday during the tax-free holiday to accommodate the increase in shoppers.

Paperdoll has only been open for 6 years in Flowood, and Menear said getting the word out about the Sales Tax Weekend is often a little harder for smaller businesses.

“We rely on social media and talking to people,” said Menear. “And oftentimes, we hear that they didn’t even know about the sales tax holiday. So we started letting people know earlier our plans for the holiday so they could make plans to swing by.”

Click here for a list of items that are sales tax exempt this weekend.

Related: Sales Tax Holiday: Your gain, state’s loss

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