Tax holiday gives residents relief

Marie Pickard of Clovis picks through the selection of blue jeans at a local department store at North Plains Mall Saturday during the second day of the tax free weekend. Pickard said she was shopping for back-to-school clothes for her grandchildren.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Marie Pickard sorted through a pile of boys jeans in JCPenney for a pair for grandson Austin Hodges.

But any findings must be approved by the 8-year-old, or she said they would just end up hidden in the closet.

“You have to let them pick out their own clothes or they don’t wear them,” Pickard said.

Pickard was among the hundreds of shoppers in Clovis who took advantage of the state’s three-day suspension of taxes on certain items.

Pickard said she also shopped at Randy’s Shoes on Main Street for her granddaughter, who needs special shoes for a beginning cheerleading class.

During the weekend certain items such as clothing and some school supplies are tax-free.

“It saves a lot in the long run,” she said. “Taxes do hurt.”

JC Penney Store Manager Mark Anderson said the tax-free weekend is the store’s biggest three-day period in the entire year in terms of sales. He said the store will be fully staffed until today.

“Everybody gets a shift,” he said.

But while the store will be busy with shoppers, he estimates sales figures wouldn’t surpass last year’s tax-free holiday because consumers are tightening their belts as fuel prices drive up the cost of basic necessities.

“It’s pretty flat to last year,” he said. “(Sales will be) probably what I expected. The economy’s tough right now; people are watching what they’re spending.”

He said the next biggest shopping day would come on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving day when consumers start Christmas shopping.

At the Shoe Department, Melinda Cuevas was shopping for shoes for her three sons and nephew. She said she was shopping specifically for shoes, but wasn’t there particularly for the tax-free holiday.

“It’ll help,” she said of the reprieve from taxes.