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Sales tax holiday good for business, bad for crowds in South Mississippi

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Starting at midnight and going until midnight Saturday, people can avoid the seven percent sales tax on back-to-school items.

That includes clothing, footwear or school supplies if the sales price of a single item is less than $100.

But for some businesses, the holiday is appreciated, but the timing is a little off.

For Molly McGuffee, owner of The Cotton Patch in Gulfport, the big back-to-school rush was a couple of weeks ago when the Gulfport School District began early for its new year-round schedule. For her, the sales tax holiday is like a second retail wave.

“I think parents are still out there trying to buy more,” said McGuffee. “I think it’s harder for us to get anything in right now. So, anytime we get anything new, they’re still coming back to try to get it.”

And a second chance for sales is appreciated because - although she still has plenty of stock - COVID created problems with delays. Still, McGuffee said the state may need to consider a new start time for the sales tax holiday for everybody’s benefit.

“With more and more schools doing the year-round plan, I think that we may need to move it to like early July or the last weekend in June just so they can go and get book bags and the big purchases and things like that,” said McGuffee.

Ferrell Alman, owner of S.F. Alman in Gulfport, has been riding a nice wave of business for the last few months, and this weekend is icing on the cake.

“I think some of the Gulfport people might come in and get those things that they want to take advantage of the tax-free - those extra items they might need and take advantage of that,” said Alman. “But for the rest of the folks out there just getting to school in the next few weeks. Yeah, I think it will be a big day Friday and Saturday for us.”

At Edgewater Mall, with its department stores already in sale mode, it’s the calm before the storm.

And that’s the perfect time for Cully Bush and his family from Leakesville.

“I do like the idea, but I don’t like the crowds,” said Bush. “Because it’s going to be absolute pandemonium that weekend. That’s why we’re here now. ... If you don’t get up early and you sleep in late, you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for.”

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