Iowa sales tax holiday, Creston Crazy Days, back-to-school shopping season and, the library’s wine walk combine to make this weekend a shopping destination for area residents.
For two days each year, the state of Iowa exempts most clothing and shoes under $100 from being subject to sales tax. The exemption does not apply to specialized sport apparel that cannot be adapted for street wear, for example football helmets, golf gloves and spiked or cleated shoes. The sales tax holiday falls on Aug. 2 and 3 this year.
The city of Creston has a tradition of hosting Crazy Days sales to coincide with the tax holiday. Although, according to Creston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Gerharz, Crazy Days is no longer officially held by the chamber, local businesses still hold sales and benefit from teaming up to encourage local and nearby residents to shop in Creston during the event.
“In talking to retailers in the community, we have found that Friday is a good day for the businesses that are impacted directly by the sales tax holiday,” Gerharz said. “Because of when it falls, a lot of people will do back-to-school shopping.”
Darlene Riley, owner of Hazel Marie’s and The Wishing Well, said she wishes Creston would revive the activities that used to occur during Crazy Days. She said she believes that Uptown Creston has enough stores to support such a program again.
Even without the entertainment, Riley said that the conjunction of Crazy Days and the sales tax holiday are good for uptown businesses. She said she has found that residents often choose to choose to shop local during the event.
“Otherwise a lot of people go to the cities,” Riley said.
Riley also noted that shoppers from the surrounding area come to Creston to shop during the holiday.
“We are the city to a lot of people in the smaller towns,” she said. “They don’t want to drive all the way to Des Moines.”
Beginning last year, the Gibson Memorial Library hosted a wine walk fundraiser — Creston Uncorked and Uncapped” on Friday of the sales tax holiday. Participants can pick up their wrist bands and wine glasses at the library and then walk around the uptown area getting samples of wine and beer.
The walk raises money for the library expansion and has the added benefit of encouraging the attendees to shop uptown, both during the event and after.
Connie Maxson, library trustee and one of the wine walk organizers, said that several businesses reported an increase in foot traffic at their businesses last year after the wine walk.
The sales tax holiday runs all day Friday and Saturday. Crazy Days sales are at the discretion of each business, and the wine walk is Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.