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Sales tax holiday ends Saturday

SALISBURY — Some local electronics and appliance stores saw a surge in business Saturday as the state’s final tax free weekend kicked off.
The state’s annual weekend exempting sales taxes from purchases of certain energy efficient home appliances began at midnight Thursday and will continue through tonight.
Chris Cauble, sales manager at Queen City on Statesville Boulevard, said the store saw an uptick in customers Saturday likely due to the savings.
Cauble said the store promotes the tax-free weekend and said he thinks local businesses will see an impact next year if customers can’t capitalize on reduced weekends.
“We’re very aware of it and we’re concerned for our customers because it’s something that we’ve promoted for the last six or seven years ever since they’ve done it pretty heavily,” Cauble said. “We and the manufacturers both gear our sales toward that three day weekend.”
The holiday applies to Energy Star-labeled clothes washers, refrigerators and freezers, air conditioners, ceiling fans and programmable thermostats and other products. Business purchases don’t qualify.
The General Assembly passed a tax overhaul law this year that repealed the sales tax weekends on Energy Star appliances and the one held every August for clothing, computers and school supplies and sports equipment. The holidays won’t occur in 2014 and beyond.
Becky Goldsmith, a Woodleaf resident, said she and her husband shopped for a new washing machine Saturday afternoon specifically because of the tax-free weekend.
“We were already wanting a new washer,” Goldsmith said. “If this weekend wasn’t here, we would probably would’ve waited another year or so before we bought one.”
Bob and Donna Mauldin bought a new washer and dryer Saturday afternoon at Queen City. The tax-free weekend, they said, was part of the reason.
“People look forward to saving a few dollars and it seems to me like it gives stores a little surge because of people taking advantage of it,” Bob Mauldin said. “They’re having some turnover. When you have turnover, you have to manufacture new ones.”
Cauble said he’s worked in Salisbury for more than 20 years and has seen the impact the tax-free weekend can have on local businesses.
“It’s definitely a shot in the arm for the local economy. People do look forward to getting something from the government since they’ve been taking so much from us,” he said.
Queen City has seen a recent upward trend in sales and hopes recent housing growth continues, Cauble said, but retail stores will miss the enticing weekend sales.
“We’re looking for growth. We’re seeing growth. That’s the positive, I guess. We’re seeing growth in the electronics and the appliances,” Cauble said. “As far as how it will affect the overall sales? I would hope the overall increase that we’re expecting helps but there’s no replacing that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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