Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 6:06 PM EST Nov 24, 2018
LAS CRUCES – For some holiday shoppers at small, local businesses Saturday, it came as a pleasant surprise to learn that there was no state gross receipts tax. Not for Kay Naranjo.
She said that when she learned about the Small Business Saturday tax holiday, she decided to put off purchases she had planned to make at Coyote Traders, 1024 W. Picacho in Las Cruces, until Saturday.
“We have a new house in town, and we’ve been buying a few things. And, he told us to come back and save money,” she said. “And who doesn’t want to save money.”
A bill passed earlier this year by the New Mexico Legislature created a new tax holiday for businesses with 10 employees or fewer on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — commonly referred to as Small Business Saturday. A list of common holiday gift items could be purchased without paying taxes.
The “he” that Naranjo was referring to is Gabriel Villa, owner of Coyote Traders, 1024 W. Picacho. Villa was a busy man Saturday as a steady flow of customers filled his shop. He said they made an effort on social media to let people know about the tax-free holiday, and it paid off with customers coming in as soon as they opened.
“We really spread the word,” he said. “All small businesses around here are doing the tax-free and trying to get people to think local and shop local.”
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Naranjo said she is happy to see small businesses get a break.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, and it’s great for the small businesses,” she said
Villa said that anything purchased Saturday qualified for the tax break, even if it is not immediately available at the shop.
“It’s definitely been an incentive for customers to come in and place orders on, not only the stuff we have in the shop but some of our custom pieces as well,” he said. “That gives us a chance to get them their dream pieces and give them an even better break on the price.
“We typically take 50 percent down on a custom piece, but if they want to pay for all of it today, we can do it all tax-free today,” he said.
At the Casa Camino Real Bookstore & Art Gallery, 314 S. Tornillo St., the small-business tax holiday coincided with a sale of still-sealed vinyl records from the estate of Rudy F. Tellez.
Store owner Denise Chavez said they moved from Mesilla to the Mesquite Historic District a little more than six years ago.
“It’s been a fabulous move,” she said. “We don’t have the business that we had over there, we don’t have the tourists as much as we had, but we’re really connected to small businesses in our community. We’re directly on the Camino Real, the historic townsite of Las Cruces. So it’s been very exciting to create ourselves anew.”
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She said the Small Business Saturday tax holiday was important for stores like hers.
“We’re a very small business, but we’re a community business,” she said. “Instead of buying from Amazon today, buy from your local business and get no taxes. It’s exciting.”
She said that along with selling books, they also give away books to refugees through a program called “Books for the Journey.” Oftentimes it is the first book that person has had, she said.
“Books save lives; they saved mine,” she said.
The legislation passed this year created the tax holiday for just two years. The tax break is scheduled to end after Small Business Saturday, 2019.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Doreen Gallegos, D-Las Cruces, and was originally intended to last for more than two years, but was amended to address concerns about the cost of the tax holiday to the state.
“All the research shows if you can get them in there one or two times and they like the shop, they’re likely to go back, versus shopping on Amazon,” Gallegos said in debating for passage of the bill. “We don’t want to shut down the mom and pop shops.”
Walter Rubel can be reached at 575-541-5441, [email protected]
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