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Local News

Shoppers flock to stores for sales tax holiday

August 5th, 2011 10:05 pm by Madison Mathews

Tammy Wolfe has never taken advantage of the many back-to-school deals offered during tax-free weekend. That changed this year when the Bristol mom decided to bring her two daughters to Johnson City in order to get what they needed to start the new school year.
“I thought this year is a year that we probably need to use tax-free (weekend), because everybody is struggling economically,” she said Friday evening while shopping for school supplies at Office Depot with her daughters, Hannah and Maddy.
Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday is held every year during the first weekend in August. The tax-free event will last through Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
Computers priced $1,500 or less are tax-free, along with items like printers, monitors and keyboards if they are purchased at the same time. School and art supplies like backpacks, lunch boxes and notebooks are also exempt from sales tax, as well as clothing costing $100 or less.
Since “every little discount helps,” Wolfe said she thought it would be worth braving the crowds in order to save a few bucks. Before spending time in Office Depot looking for pens, pencils, expensive calculators, paper and the rest of the usual back-to-school items, Wolfe and her daughters stopped by The Mall at Johnson City in order to take advantage of the clothing deals offered during the weekend.
“We bought shoes, we bought clothes, and I’ve actually bought some household items as well,” she said.
Wolfe said she probably spent at least $400 Friday on tax-free items. In addition to saving money using the tax-free deals, she combed through online ads and newspapers for coupons to use during the weekend.
While the deals were too good to pass up this year, Wolfe said she would rather shop at a smaller store like Office Depot rather brave the massive crowds at a store like Walmart.
“Although I know that this is probably a little more expensive overall, it saves me from the crowds at the other places, but I’ve saved in other areas today, so I’ve justified it I guess you would say,” she said.
Some families like the Joneses, of Johnson City, have been taking advantage of the weekend’s great deals since the savings event began six years ago. Fresh out of his first day of school at Science Hill High School, 16-year-old Blake Jones stopped by Office Depot with his brother, Mark, and mother, Melanie, to get some of the basics for the school year.
“We decided to come out here to take advantage of the tax-free weekend, and it’s Friday, the first day after school, and we hoped that maybe we’d beat some crowds that may get out here later,” he said while his family shopped around the store.
Jones said the sales weekend helps many people in the area, as well as giving stores a boost in sales.
“I think it’s a great incentive for people to come out and shop, cause you’re saving money and everyone needs school supplies, so it definitely brings in a whole lot of people and they’re also saving a lot of money,” he said.
For a list of items exempt from sales tax this weekend, visit For more information, email

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