Businesses start seeing customers on tax free weekend

WICHITA FALLS, TX - Friday marked the first day of the tax-free weekend in Texas and shoppers started taking advantage early. Many hit the store to stock up on school supplies or new clothes.

It was all hands on deck for Kathleen Lauck and her staff at JC Penney ready for the tax-free weekend.

"We actually just got a truck this morning, said Lauck.  "We're in the process of getting that merch out."

"We hired about 25 additional associates just to help us through this back to school period."

Across Texas this weekend, customers can get clothes, shoes, and school supplies under $100 tax-free. Target also has all of their employees on stand by.

Brandice Robinson said this added bonus makes this weekend the "Black Friday" of the summer.

"It's a pretty big weekend for us," said Robinson.  "Friday is usually the smallest day of the week and usually Saturday is our biggest day we're busy from open to close."

For retailers, it's big. Some stores like JC Penney are extending their hours. The big sellers are clothes, shoes, and school supplies. Mindy Lloyd is taking advantage of the sale before the big crowds hit.

"We tried to get a lot of stuff done and we get out and go a few special places."

JC Penney and Target are prepared.

"It feels like we just had it," said Lauck.  "We're really excited."

"We've been doing this so long," said Robinson.  "We are pretty well versed in it.  We expect it to go smoothly."

Small businesses also benefit from the weekend, saying it boosts business. Ghislaine Bigot at Annie Jewel and Charlie's already started seeing the crowds early Friday.

"Heavy foot traffic since I opened this morning at 10," said Bigot.

She said this weekend brings in new people to the store. It does get crazy, but not the busiest she has seen.

"I've seen crowds but nothing like the holidays are," said Bigot.

For Bigot, they start seeing an increase in sales leading up to the weekend.

"People will come in on Thursday and Wednesday just because they want to beat the rush and all of the crowds of people," said Bigot.

Vikki Holcomb is the co-owner of Storkland and Kids Too in Wichita Falls. At her business, they increase their sales by making everything tax free.

They do this by paying the tax on items that wouldn't qualify for the normal tax-free weekend.

"It gives our customer a big break and it's one they look forward to every year," said Holcomb.

Holcomb said tax-free weekend couldn't fall at a better time.

"Folks are getting ready to go back to school," said Holcomb.  "They're winding down their summer they're focusing on fall and so even the fall clothes sale we see an increase on that."

Another way stores see an increase in business, is by adding sales on top of the already tax-free.

"I think it's smart for stores like us to take advantage of weekends like this," said Bigot.  "People are already ready to shop and kind of put on those sales and you'll see a boost of people."

Tax-free weekend runs through Sunday in Texas.

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