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Area stores prepare for tax-free weekend, back-to-school

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 17, 2010 at 3:17 a.m.


If you want to know moreFor more information on tax-free weekend, as well as a list of what is and isn't tax exempt, visit the state comptroller's website at www.window.state.tx.us and click the "sales tax holiday" link.

Retailers are busy at the moment unloading shipments, stocking sales floors and working out employee schedules.

Texas' tax-free weekend spans Friday through Sunday and local stores are preparing for what they predict will be a busy few days.

Cavender's Boot City boasts more merchandise than usual, said Bel Schoeneberg, the store's manager. Management also ordered more solid-color shirts this year, she said, to meet with the Victoria school district's new dress code.

Other weekend preparations include bringing on additional staffers and making lunchtime plans, Schoeneberg said. The store feeds its employees during the tax break, since the store maintains longer-than-usual hours.

Cavender's expects increased customer traffic but, as for how many will go, it's hard to say.

Tax-free weekend comes at an inconvenient time for many, Schoeneberg said, since public schools start the following Monday.

Target will bulk up its sales staff so customers can get in and out as quickly as possible, said Mike Yokum, the store's manager.

This year, however, it seems many people began shopping early, he said. That's probably because stores often begin running out of sought-after items as the school year nears, he said.

Like others, Victoria's Walmart Supercenter will bring on more employees throughout tax-free time, said Leo Vitiello, a shift manager at the store.

When it comes to making sure Walmart has the right merchandise on hand, he said, it's planned automatically, through the store's centralized system.

The Teacher's Toolbox doesn't do much to prepare for tax-free weekend, said Kecia Haas, who owns the store at 2910 N. Laurent St. Although the store's school supplies and backpacks qualify for the exemption, bulletin board supplies and others don't.

That doesn't mean the staff is off the hook. Back-to-school is the store's busiest season.

The staff ordered supplies in June and will continue getting shipments through September, Haas explained.

Ordering items for the store takes guesswork, Haas said, because people's tastes change. This year, like last, designs featuring animal prints, monkeys and palm trees were popular.

Things might be busy, Haas said, but that's good.

"It's like our Christmas," she said.

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