RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thousands of shoppers are hitting area stores right now on the first day of Virginia's sales tax holiday weekend. It's a time for consumers to save money on back-to-school items, and for retailers to boost business.
The past year has been tough for Tricia Alford and her staff at Buttons and Bows.
"The economy definitely has affected us. People are not buying as many nicer things, they're trying to make due without some things," Alford said.
She says the tough economy has been particularly hard on small businesses like hers because people turn to larger discount stores in an effort to pinch pennies.
So to help spark sales this weekend, Tricia is selling everything in her store tax-free, whether it is covered by the tax holiday or not. Many stores offer similar incentives, and shoppers like Katherine Hall appreciate the chance to save.
"It definitely affects us," Hall said. "We need to get a couple pairs of shoes and some new school clothes, so it saves 20 dollars here and there."
Across the street at the Wal-Mart on Parham Road, a packed parking lot and bustling aisles are early signs that people are starting to open up their wallets again.
For Tricia, it's a sign of hope that the economy may be turning around.
"A lot of the problem has been the negative publicity, making people scared to spend, so I'm grateful to see positive things in the newspaper saying the economy's doing better, and hopefully that'll encourage people to spend," Alford said.
Alford says -- in past years, Buttons and Bows has seen as much as a 300 percent spike in sales during the tax holiday.
If you plan on getting in, on the savings, the tax-free, frenzy, lasts, until Sunday at midnight.