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Drive Extra Retail Sales at Your Truckstop on a Tax Free Day

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Drive Extra Retail Sales at Your Truckstop on a Tax Free Day 

As retailers it is important to have a holiday and seasonal retail/promotional program and participate in national holidays, which can be a sales driver. We often forget that our core customer and others who spend the majority of their time on our nation’s interstates and highways are starved for time when it comes to purchasing items for their loved ones gifts for that special occasion and or holiday.

In my past, a robust holiday, one-day sale, summer drive and tax-free retail/promotional program all played a role in driving incredible retail sales through the coffers. Sales folks still today would have a hard time believing it had they not experienced it themselves.

And, by the way, did I say tax-free day?

You may yourself not consider tax-free day a holiday, but for a lot of people it is just like one when it comes to saving money. It is often not on our calendars in the truck and travel arena, but it should be, especially if you have a local community close by.

Most states host these tax breaks in August during the exact time parents and students alike are preparing to return to school, hence the heavy shopping we see in the likes of Target, Staples, Walmart, JC Penny, Best Buy, etc. Families spend hundreds of dollars on backpacks, tablets, sneakers, computers, cameras, pencils, pens, etc., and for many families the tax break savings when coupled with in store promotional opportunities are significant.

Locations don't always carry the items I mentioned above, but if you work with your suppliers now, there is no reason why you could not get these types of products in your location. 

If you do not know what you should carry for the event, simply ask your spouse, your children and or staff members with children. Better yet, get a copy of the list that schools provide parents on the type of gear they need, such as paper, binders, pens, pencils, backpacks, calculators, etc.

Additionally, if your organizations take coupons and or your vendors support your effort with promotional mark downs, it will be essential to let customers know. You will especially want to share the information with those ultra-loyal customers you see regularly.

Each state has its own rules and exclusions so it is critical to understand the process, the amounts that are tax deductible and the category of products that are eligible. Ensure you go to the appropriate website to find out more information and to capitalize on the sales opportunities available to you. 

Finally, offering the products your customers need at a discount can make a difference in drivers' lives and for the community. They will appreciate you making is easier for them to enjoy the savings they may otherwise miss out on. Everyone enjoys a savings.

You will be surprised how well a tax-free day event could do for your retail sales if done properly. I know for sure from past experience, people of all likes enjoy crowd-free shopping.

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Photo Credit: Frazao/Bigstock

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.


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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.