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School shoppers load up on tax-free bargains
Savanna Kennedy, 13, and mom, Nancy Kennedy, look for shirts to buy Saturday at J.C. Penney in Gainesville as part of the tax-free weekend for back-to-school shopping. - photo by CHARLES PHELPS

A new school year brings new shoes, clothes, backpacks for students and a lengthy supply list to fill for the first day of class.

Shoppers stocked up on those items Friday and Saturday during the state’s tax-free weekend before the new school year begins Monday in Gainesville and Hall County.

The list of what was exempted from state and local taxes included school supplies, clothes, shoes and computer supplies.

“Tax-free weekend has been good,” said Paul Shires, store manager of J.C. Penney at Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville. “This year, it worked out perfect with school starting on Monday and the tax-free weekend being yesterday and today.

“This is one of the busiest weekends because of the tax free. Customers have been responding.”

Nancy Kennedy and her daughter, Savanna Kennedy, 13, shopped for clothes Saturday. Nancy Kennedy says clothes are what she spends most of the money on because kids grow every year.

“I really like the break in the prices,” Kennedy said. “I’m very glad the state does the tax-free weekend. It’s very much appreciated.”

Kennedy also said they had been to four different stores Saturday in search of the best deals.

For Jackie Harrison, tax-free weekend treats her and her family well because she has a large family, four daughters ages 7 to 11.

“We do appreciate tax-free weekend because we are a larger family,” she said. “Also, stores seem to put out more coupons to get you more interested to shop, so there’s even more savings on top of it (tax-free weekends).”

Harrison said she saves more on school supplies than anything else.

“The clothes, they’re a really good deal, but for some reason, the school supplies, they have discounted them (school supplies) even more,” she said.

Harrison also said her and her family planned on going to at least eight different stores to find the best deals.
She thinks the tax-free weekend helps those who need the help most.

“The tax-free weekend is helping the economy in the long run,” Harrison said. “It’s encouraging people to shop. And also, a lot of stores are passing out extra cash savings for a (few) weekends from now and things like that.
“So they’re encouraging you to come back. They will still collect the tax money later on.”

Deedee and Tony Rogers who have three children and were taking advantage of the sales Saturday said the tax-free weekend provides them with extra money to spend somewhere else.

“Tax-free weekend is pretty significant for us,” Tony Rogers said.

“We’re always looking to save money,” Deedee Rogers said.

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