Massachusetts retailer: pandemic helped sales tax holiday

FRANKLIN, Mass. (WLNE) — Simon’s Furniture Mattresses & Appliances has been a family business for 109 years, but they’ve never seen a year like this.

“The phones were not ringing, there was no one coming in the door,” said Vice President Jared Simon of the business climate when the pandemic first emerged. “The traditional holidays, like July 4th was very weak, Memorial Day was virtually non-existent, and we missed other sales periods in April and May.”

That’s why a lot was riding on this year’s sales tax holiday, which is already an important time for appliance and furniture retailers.

“It’s like the 13th month of the year for us,” he said.

Simon’s making safety changes to their Franklin store, like keeping doors open to let in fresh air, requiring customers to sanitize their hands and cell phones, and going appointment-only.

“Appointments have been able to space out the business and keep it a steady flow, versus the peaks and valleys that could create crowding situations,” he said.

Simon says all of that is helping sales this tax-free weekend.

“Actually one of the biggest ones in years,” he said. “Especially because most people are focused on staying home now. We’re seeing as people’s lifestyles change, the needs for at home are changing. So whether it’s home office furniture, more comfortable places to sit, smaller dining room tables because you can’t have as many people over.”

Simon says demand for large refrigerators and freezers is off the charts…and upholstery, recliners, mattresses…are also best sellers this weekend.

There is something he wishes Massachusetts had done differently with the sales tax holiday.

“During the time of the pandemic, if you could stretch it out to a week, help space things out,” Simon said.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News, Regional News