College Park appliance stores will be ready for Maryland’s tax free weekend for Energy Star appliances, which starts Saturday and goes through Monday.
Almost all Energy Star appliances will be tax-free during Shop Maryland Energy Weekend, meaning customers can save 6 percent on home necessities such as refrigerators and air conditioners—potentially saving hundreds of dollars.
This incentive saves customers some cash over the Presidents Day weekend and boosts sales for the stores, said Dom Hurley, the general manager at the College Park Best Buy. His store saw increased traffic last year, when the tax free initiative was first introduced.
“It was phenomenal to say the least,” Hurley said. “In terms of traffic it was a lot better than we expected. More people know about it this year.”
Maryland’s General Assembly passed the Tax Free Weekend legislation in a 2007 special session, according to Kim Frumm, an official in the state’s comptroller office. She said the legislation was designed to save consumers money and encourage them to buy energy-efficient products.
“We’re hoping to help Marylanders reduce greenhouse gases,” Frumm said. “It’s a reinvestment in their house.”
The legislation is similar to the tax-free week in August, in which costumers can buy clothing and shoes tax-free. Lawmakers chose certain popular items to include in the Energy Star initiative; appliances such as refrigerators and dehumidifiers are tax-free, but others, such as dishwashers, are not. Customers can ask a sales associate to help identify which appliances are tax-free.
College Park residents can recognize Energy Star appliances in stores such as Best Buy, Ikea and Home Depot by an Energy Star logo on the product's price tag. The logo means that the appliance has passed an evaluation process that guarantees it uses about 30 percent less energy than regular models; saving energy could potentially mean saving money on energy bills in the long run, Frumm said.
“Every little bit of saving helps in this economy,” she said. “It’s beneficial in the long run.”
Hurley agrees. His store is offering up to 15 percent off, on top of the 6 percent savings for President’s Day weekend, and he said he has already seen “window shoppers,” as he called them, checking out appliances around the store.
“When you’re in retail, there’s no downside to increased traffic,” he said. “It’s a win-win if you’re in the market for appliances.”