While numbers have been declining statewide, local businesses are reporting solid sales as they prepare for the sales tax holiday.

"We've had a great summer — very steady and up over last year," says Rachel Huggins, owner of the Pocket Shop in Ardmore.

The latest National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index, released July 9, shows that small-business confidence sputtered and lost momentum in June. Of the small-business owners surveyed, 18 percent reported "poor sales" as their biggest concern, up 2 points.

"Combined with the back-to-school sales a lot of stores are having right now, anyway, the sales-tax holiday is going to help people get a bigger bang for their buck," says Jerrod Shouse, NFIB state director. "The more we can encourage people to spend money and shop at small businesses, the more jobs we'll save, and the faster our economy will recover."

The annual sales tax holiday will be Friday through Sunday, and applies to most clothing. The goal is to encourage shopping.

"It absolutely drives people into our store. It benefits our business, because it drives people in who will then do all there back-to-school shopping," says Sydnee Donaho, Stillwater Milling Company retail sales manager.

August is usually a very good month for Stillwater Milling in Davis, which the store kickoffs with the sales-tax weekend. It also offsets any summertime lags.

"June was off a little bit, but July was ahead, which we have worked very hard on," Donaho says. "Now, we're planning a good start to the August month sales. We're busy the whole month, and this kicks off the month."

Stores combine the sales-tax holiday with other promotions, including sales and snacks, to encourage shopping.

Stillwater Milling will start the sales-tax holiday on Thursday.

"The company will pay the tax for people wanting to start early," says Donaho.