LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – It's not quite Black Friday, but for families with school-age children, it's the next best thing.
Oklahoma's tax-free-weekend started today, so expect to see more than the usual number of shoppers in stores taking advantage of the savings.
Items of clothing and shoes, that are priced under $100, are exempt from both state and local sales tax until midnight Sunday. In Lawton, that amounts to a savings of 9 percent, in addition to whatever sales the various stores are advertising.
School starts next Wednesday in Lawton, so the timing is perfect for parents who spent the past few days getting their kids enrolled.
This year tax free weekend is especially important for Patti Riuegas. She has four kids and, after spending money on school supplies, this is the best way to shop for clothes without breaking the bank.
"Every little penny helps. That tax money you save on taxes you can buy another couple pair of pants with, I found out. So I always wait for this time," Riuegas said.
Janet Halley is shopping for 4 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren and knows every penny counts.
"It saves a lot when you are going to have to buy a lot. That's why I'm here, it will be a good weekend to shop," Halley said.
Tax free weekend began at 12:01 a.m. August 5 and will continue until midnight on Sunday.
JC Penny's store manager, Cayce Vickers, says her team started preparing for the event back in July. She says she has fifty-two employees ready to help customers make their shopping experience a smooth transaction.
"I mean this is a peak season for us. We love the excitement. We love having the turn out. We love having more and more customers in. That's what we are here for," Vickers said.
Earlier this year, storms and heavy rainfall caused J-C Penny's to temporarily close and relocate to another spot in the mall. Vickers says having a smaller store space is tough.
"We don't have the selection that we normally carry, but we are trying to meet the needs of everybody. We are trying to meet the young folk, the older folk, everybody you know that wants to shop," said Vickers.
Vickers says this event is helping the community. She says school supplies are already expensive, so getting clothes and shoes tax free will help a lot.
"So, you know, nice percent savings on top of sales for your clothes is important. Anything will help. Anything will help a family who is on a budget," Vickers explained.
The sales tax exemption does not cover school supplies or any electronic items; it's only for clothes and shoes. However, the exemption does cover online purchases. So if you don't want to fight the crowds or the heat, you can still take advantage of the savings from home.