Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week kicked off on Aug. 11 and ends Aug. 17. While you’re out there picking up the trendiest fall clothes, backpacks and school supplies don’t forget to hit your local stores to see what they have to offer.
What are some of those stores downtown that can help out with back-to-school shopping? I compiled a list, with the help of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, to give you a start.
Curious Iguana and Retro-Metro have notebooks and general supplies like pens; Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts has games and science kits; Footlights has footwear for dance classes; Zebop, Urban Cottage and The Trail House have backpacks and clothing; Hunting Creek Outfitters, Velvet Lounge, Alicia L, Posh and Sky’s the Limit have clothing for teens and college students and Wheel Base and ReCycles Bikes have new and recycled bikes.
Don’t forget to visit your favorite salon or barbershop for a fresh cut for the first day of school as well.
“We see somewhat of an increase in sales,” said Becky Clark, manager of The Trail House. “People always tend to seem surprised that they’re not paying taxes and then tend to send family members in after that.”
The Trail House offers seasonal sports wear, shirts, tops and backpacks.
Clark said Tax-Free Week comes at a time when the store is switching summer merchandise out for fall merchandise. The store actually started putting fall items out last week.
And shopping local really does make a difference.
“Shopping local means that you typically get good service and you’re supporting your local economy and your friends and neighbors,” she said.
While Tom Canning, owner of Zebop, doesn’t typically see a boost in sales during Tax-Free Week, the store is still ready for back-to-school with backpacks, t-shirts, hooded pullovers, tapestries and “things that decorate the dorm room.”
Even though big box stores may have a larger variety, he said local stores have more unique products.
Canning is also transitioning his merchandise over from summer to fall, putting the first of his fall items out on Friday.
Eligible items for Tax-Free Week include certain clothing, footwear and accessories priced at $100 or less, according to the Comptroller of Maryland. Items that cost more than $100 will be taxable. The first $40 of a bookbag purchase is tax-exempt.
For online sales, eligible items may be tax-exempt if the item is both paid for and delivered to the customer during the tax-free period, according to the Comptroller of Maryland. Items are also eligible if the retailer accepts the order for immediate shipment, even if the item is delivered after the tax-free period.
Discounts or coupons to reduce an item’s sale price to $100 or less will also qualify for tax exemption.
So whether you’re getting the kids new clothes and notebooks and decorating your dorm room, don’t forget to shop local.