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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Childress sees the silver lining of COVID-19 with an 11.69% increase of sales tax in April.
“I think this is a direct result of our community coming out and supporting our local businesses,” said Childress Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Leary. “Shopping local is important to our businesses and our community.”
Lott True Value Home Center is one of the local businesses that saw an increase. Owner John Lott said most of his business came from locals who were working on home improvements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People had stimulus checks that gave them a boost,” Lott explained. “People were home and had the time.”
Customers bought more appliances, a lot of paint, yard equipment and other things to improve their houses, Lott added.
While Childress saw an increase in sales tax in April, Amarillo, Lubbock and Wichita Falls all saw a decrease. According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, Amarillo was down 8.95%, Lubbock was down 11.34% and Wichita Falls was down 11.59%.
“Due to Covid-19, we stayed home and shopped at home instead of going to the bigger cities,” said Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Terry Williams. “When we go out of town to do our shopping, we are helping those cities get stronger while hurting our community.”
Williams added that if shoppers can find it here in Childress, they should buy it here in Childress.
“We are helping our small businesses and helping our community by keeping our money home,” he said. “This gives our city government more money to work with. If we continue to do this, our city may be able to provide more for our kids.”
Childress City Manager Kevin Hodges hopes to see more local shopping in the coming months. He said everyone benefits from it.
“The sales tax increase of April 2020 over April 2019 is indicative of the economic impact that local shopping has on our community,” Hodges added.
To be exact, Childress saw a net payment of $71,171.46 in April sales tax compared to $63,722.14 in April 2019, according to the Texas Comptroller’s website.
“We are thrilled with the numbers and that shopping local truly hit home,” Leary said.
While Childress Municipal Development District Executive Director Doc Smith feels sympathetic to the businesses in Childress that were forced to close, he is thankful to see these numbers for the ones that were able to stay open.
“We are thankful that most of our major sales tax collectors were deemed to be essential businesses, and those businesses chose to stay open to
serve our residents and those of the surrounding communities,” Smith said.