Business booms locally with tax holiday

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

They came, they shopped, they bought. Last weekend’s three-day sale tax holiday on certain back-to-school related items drew crowds to area stores.

Bill McCrary, manager at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Greenville, gave the event a thumbs-up.

“We had very, very good days across the board all three days,” McCrary said.

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“We were definitely up from last year. We’re very pleased.”

Randy Beeson, owner/manager of Fred’s of Greenville, is equally delighted with the results at his store.

“Things went really well. We had a seven percent increase over last year and I can’t say anything but good,” Beeson said.

He admitted being somewhat surprised at the increase.

“Considering gas is about a dollar a gallon more than it was last year, I really wasn’t thinking we would have an increase,” Beeson said.

The Fred’s manager said the biggest selling items in his store were the school uniforms.

“You know, when you’ve got to clothe three or four kids for school, that can really add up. When you take almost ten percent off their bill, it’s a significant amount,” Beeson said.

He also speculated more Butler County citizens are shopping close to home due to high gas prices and the continued construction on I-65 and 85.

Do the tax savings enjoyed by consumers who bought school supplies, computers, books and clothing items locally have a major negative impact on city revenues?

According to the Greenville city clerk’s office, not really.

“This is the third year we’ve participated in the sales tax holiday and we’ve studied and reviewed it each year,” said Sue Arnold, city clerk.

“In comparison with what we took in, revenue-wise, before the holiday was put into place, we’ve come to the conclusion there is no significant difference (in total monies brought into the tax coffers during the period).

“Here in Greenville, our tax base isn’t dependent solely on local revenue; we are a prime stop for vacation and business travelers off I-65 who are also spending their dollars here.”

With school just around the corner and many families enjoying a last hoorah at the beach, that put even more vacationers on the road and in Greenville businesses last weekend, Arnold said.

“The fact is, you just can’t predict spending,” she said.