Lawton_It's no "Black Friday," but the first weekend in August is on its way to becoming one of the biggest shopping times of the year in Oklahoma. From Friday through Sunday, the state's Second Annual Sales Tax Holiday will give shoppers a break from sales tax on virtually everything wearable - provided it costs under $100. People are driving from miles away to take advantage of the savings at stores in Lawton.
Folks are ready to shop tax-free this weekend for several reasons: back-to-school clothing, tough economy, and it's payday for a lot of people. Retailers who though last year's inaugural sales tax holiday was a success are prepared to be blown away this year. "We're expecting to see a healthy increase over last year's numbers," said retailer John Creeg. It means stores like Wal-Mart are packing in more merchandise - and workers. "We have brought in extra help Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, to help replenish the merchandise we've been selling."
Shopper Anita Stermer drove 100 miles from El Dorado with her family to take advantage of the holiday. "I'm a sucker for sales so anything that sells, I'm there. When you live in El Dorado you have to go somewhere to shop because there is no place to shop," she said.
"It's a challenge to try and clothe four kids. The boys are easy. The girls are a little tougher," said shopper Heidi Price. And, with the economy in a downturn, it's also a financial challenge. "It gets up there. It adds up quick," she said.
For many families, no tax means more clothing. "I think it's going to enable us to buy some more stuff, and a little bit of tax-free helps all of us," said Price. Some stores are even enticing customers with sales on the tax-free merchandise. With payday falling on Friday for a lot of people, stores are ready to cash in. "I think it's going to continue to grow, and grow, and grow, and we're going to have more business," said Creeg.
School supplies such as pencils and paper are still not included in the sales tax holiday. Although Lawton State Senator Don Barrington (R) introduced a bill this year to make that happen, it failed to garner enough support. The sales tax holiday runs through Sunday in Oklahoma, and Texas will host its own August 15-17.
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