MIAMI COUNTY — Back-to-school sales started across Ohio a couple of weeks ago, with stores slashing prices on pencils, crayons, notebook paper and numerous other items on students’ supply lists.
But consumers might want to wait a little bit longer to stock up — Ohio is poised to offer its first-ever sales tax holiday on certain clothing and school supplies.
The three-day event is set for Aug. 7, 8 and 9, and participation could determine whether the state offers future sales tax holidays.
Ohio is joining 17 other states who have sale tax holidays for various seasons. The rules for each sales tax holiday varies per state. During this holiday, clothing priced at $75 or less per item, school supplies that cost $20 or less and school instructional materials which cost less than $20 are tax-exempt.
Items that are used in trade or business are not exempt under the sales tax holiday.
Diana Brower of Brower Stationers in Troy said the store offers a full range of items for students and teachers. She said the criteria the state of Ohio tax website has for items to be considered tax-exempt is pretty specific, but Brower Stationers can take care of any back-to-school needs.
“We have things that will be good for students and for teachers,” she said. “We have educational materials for the teachers, learning resources, things that are going to help the teachers.”
Owner of Brower Stationers Lori Gunter said the point of the sales tax holiday is to help the pockets of parents during back-to-school time, which can come with a hefty price tag for many families.
Her hope is that over that weekend the store will sell out of most of its educational stuff.
“People don’t think of us as being competitive to the box stores but we really are,” she said. “New lines are coming in this year that are really good.”
Gunter’s cousin, who lives in South Carolina, is a teacher and shared on her social media that South Carolina has been utilizing a sales tax holiday for a long time.
“I’m just glad Ohio’s jumping on the band wagon,” Brower said.
Down the street from Brower Stationers, Ann and Kaitlyn Chaney are the owners of Elizabeth Marie Fashions, which opened this past June.
Ann said business has been steady for the store and she and Kaitlyn are expecting a large turnout for the sales tax holiday.
“Our top sellers with our kids clothes are the tanks that have sayings on them, like ‘Girl Boss’ and we have one that says ‘boho chick,’” Ann said. “Sequins are a big one for kids, T-shirts with sayings on them are big for the boys as well.”
Kaitlyn said the ages of the students coming in for back-to-school shopping varies. Younger students flock to the children’s section, while junior high and high school-age girls buy clothes from the ladies’ rack. Some of the top trends are fringe, leather, lace and tunic dresses.
“We’re having our summer red lines (sales) and we’re going to have a lot of back-to-school new arrivals,” she said.
Local superintendents support the tax holiday and expressed appreciation of the break. Piqua City Schools Superintendent Rick Hanes spoke as an administrator and a father.
“I’m extremely excited for any relief for parents who are in the position of buying school supplies or clothes for students,” Hanes said. “Speaking for myself with three kids on a personal basis, it can get pricey when preparing kids to go back to school and getting everything; great appreciation for the relief.”
“We are very excited, and parents I have spoken with are very excited,” said Dr. Todd Rappold, superintendent of Miami East Local Schools. “I think it’s a creative way to help parents to prepare for school and help local businesses in Miami County.”
Many stores will have extended hours during that weekend. Brower Stationers will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 8; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9.
Elizabeth Marie Fashions will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
— Amy Barger contributed to this story. She can be reached at (937) 451-3340.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@Troydailynews.