Store owners urge parents, teachers to shop for school supplies ahead of Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday

Back to School

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – With a brand new school year set to begin, store owners are urging shoppers to get their school supplies early.

Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday weekend kicks off Friday, Aug. 6, which allows parents, teachers and students to stock up on certain school supplies and qualifying products without paying sales tax. Crayons and clothing are on the list for this weekend’s back-to-school savings without tax.

Debora Smith, owner of Toys that Teach, says families shouldn’t wait until Friday to start shopping.

“Don’t wait until the eleventh hour, because someone’s going to be very disappointed,” she said.

Smith has owned her store for over three decades and says the pandemic really ramped up sales.

“There are more parents that are doing stuff from home, so they’re interested in our flashcards and they’re interested in the workbooks,” she said. “Anything to kind of supplement the zoom and the online classes because kids need some time away from the devices.”

Educational placemats at Toys that Teach are parents’ and teacher’s favorite items, but Smith says other school supplies may be temporarily unavailable.

“We got some stuff that we ordered in February just the other day,” the store owner said. “We don’t know what we’re going to get when we’re going to get it and I don’t see that improving anytime soon.”

With more people out and about since the pandemic lockdown, Smith says shipments have been backed up.

“The supply chain has been so disruptive this year and to a certain extent last year, but not nearly as bad as this year,” she said.

The National Retail Federation says families with school-age children plan to spend around $850 on average for supplies. The total for back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record of over $37 billion — an increase from last year.

Smith says she’s prepared for any last-minute shoppers.

“They’re just coming into play and have fun and finding things that the kids can supplement with their learning,” said Smith.

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