Tax holiday a hit in Lima area

By Danae King -

LIMA — Black Friday is one of the most popular times to shop, and, if the state does it again, the back-to-school sales tax holiday may become one as well.

“We were insanely busy,” said Lindsay Rode, manager at Crazy 8 in the Lima Mall, of this past weekend. “It was essentially Black Friday times three.”

From Friday to Sunday, state and local taxes weren’t applied to purchases of clothing and shoes under $75 or school supplies under $20, and several people came out to the Lima Mall to shop.

Though back-to-school shopping was the reason for the holiday, many used it to just buy clothing or bought other items even if they had to pay tax on them, said Randy Ritter, a manager at MC Sports in the mall.

“It was a very busy weekend for us,” he said. “We sold through quite a bit of clothing.”

The best-selling items at the sporting goods store were book bags, which weren’t tax-free.

Customers at MC Sports and Crazy 8 purchased summer clothing that was on clearance as well as fall pieces for school, both managers said.

Marlene Smith wrote on The Lima News Facebook page that she “loved” the holiday and “bought two pairs of shoes instead of one.”

On Saturday, the Lima Mall hosted an event, called the Back2School Jam, to welcome and entertain families during the sales tax holiday. The mall doesn’t release numbers of who came to the event or the mall during the weekend, but mall management said it was happy with the number of people who came.

“Families and friends spent time shopping together and cashed-in on our retailers’ back-to-school deals on clothing, shoes, accessories and more,” said Betsy Billingsley, director of marketing and business development at Lima Mall, in a statement. “The highlight of the weekend was the Back2School Jam that featured a variety of community entertainment.”

Though many retail employees and shoppers seemed to like the sales tax holiday, some were annoyed or frustrated by the crowds.

Missy Dunifon-Certain wrote on The Lima News Facebook page that she saved money but was annoyed by some people, and Lisa McCourt Hollar said she thinks the weekend gave her “a few more white hairs.”

Regardless, MC Sports and Crazy 8 seemed to have a steady stream of customers throughout the weekend.

“We had constant traffic, constant customers,” Rode said. “My girls did not leave the register.”

She said the sales tax holiday helped the store get through a sales slump in July.

“July is a really rough time for retail. … Everyone has their summer clothes,” she said. This “gave us a jump-start on August. … It keeps the momentum going until we get to the holiday season, which will be here before you know it.”

By Danae King

Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.

Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.

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