Tax-free Saturday sends shoppers to South Barrington
Jan Austin (left), Judi Michel and Tom Michel shop at Charming Charlies in South Barrington on Saturday during a Tax-Free shopping day. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:48AM
SOUTH BARRINGTON — In celebration of lower taxes in Cook County, the Arboretum of South Barrington offered shoppers a tax-free shopping day last Saturday.
Stores throughout the mall sold products and services free of taxes all afternoon. The Arboretum’s Chili Challenge also took place on Saturday afternoon, bringing large crowds to the open-air mall.
“We had an awesome turnout,” said Allison Krupp, director of marketing at the Arboretum. “We had far greater numbers than we ever anticipated.”
Krupp said she thinks Saturday’s warm, sunny weather also helped attendance.
“The stores definitely saw a bump in sales, so we were very happy,” she said.
Kathy Dwyer, who works at Spa Bleu at the Arboretum, said customers really appreciated the savings from Tax-Free Shopping Day, which saved customers up to 10 percent on their purchases.
“Tax-Free Shopping Day is such a fun way for Spa Bleu to reward our established and new patrons,” Dwyer said. “The customers really get a thrill from saving an extra 10 percent off their total bill and we see a tangible increase in services and product sales during the event.”
On January 1, 2013, sales tax in Cook County dropped to 0.75 percent, a 0.25 percent decrease.
The tax-free day was “kind of in celebration of Cook County lowering their taxes,” said South Barrington resident Shefali Bhuva who attended the Chili Challenge with her family. While there, Bhuva said she and her family did a little shopping.
“It’s such a fun event there,” Bhuva said of the Chili Challenge. “So to have this other perk while you’re there is really nice, too.”
Krupp said in addition to the lower taxes, Tax-Free Shopping Day was an opportunity for the mall to show appreciation for its customers.
“We are always looking for ways to thank our customers for choosing to shop at the Arboretum of South Barrington,” she said. “We started tax-free shopping back in 2008 when we first opened and we could not believe how well received it was by our guests, so we have continued ever since. It is a great promotion for the customer and for the stores and we see increased traffic and sales when we run the event.”
Bhuva said the Chili Challenge also drew crowds to the mall on Saturday. Of the numerous entries, Ruth’s Chris Steak House won the contest. The winning recipe is available online at www.shopthearb.com.