Local businesses react to newly signed state sales tax

"I look at it more as evening the playing field," Ashley Hess, Co-owner of Juniper Lane.

Posted: Jul 8, 2021 11:12 AM
Updated: Jul 8, 2021 11:13 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Missouri Governor Mike Parson recently signed the Wayfair bill into law. The bill is designed to help encourage people to shop at small businesses instead of shopping online. 

"Passing Wayfair legislation has been a top priority of my administration, and we are happy to be signing this critical legislation into law today," Governor Parson said. "This law will help even the playing field between Missouri small businesses and large out-of-state retailers. With more than 570,000 small businesses in the state of Missouri, it is time that we establish a 21st century tax code that benefits our Main Street businesses rather than companies that don't invest in our communities or employ our citizens."

One local business owner understands the ease of shopping online, but wants people to shop local as much as they can, saying "they are your neighbors."

"I look at it more as evening the playing field," Ashley Hess, Co-owner of Juniper Lane. "I always want to encourage others to shop local, support local. All it does is feed money back into the community, into our neighborhoods, and into our schools."

For Hess, this comes just at the right time, as she and her co-owner Jamie Donaldson just opened their shop in March.

"We actually had started as a pop-up business. And that was kind of our goal. We were just going to kind of pop up randomly, pick our own hours," said the Juniper Lane owner. "But finding locations and a good place to really generate that crowd I guess I should say kind of was difficult. Then this place became available and we sat on it for about month and we're like, 'we're doing it.'"

The two met in college and bonded over their passion for design and eclectic items, and because of the pandemic, their dream became a reality.

"Covid kind of gave us the initiative and opened up opportunities for us," Hess said.

Before the Wayfair bill, Missouri was the only state where out-of-state online retailers didn't have to follow the same sales tax laws as in-state businesses. By signing the bill, Gov. Parson said it is leveling the playing field for small businesses, adding that Missouri is now ranked 7th in the United State of America for people wanting to shop and start up a business. 

"I just hope that it gives the initiative for people, instead of buying one item online, they can go right down the street and get that same item," Hess added. "There's not a competition that way. If you're going to support, support in your own hometown if you can."

Juniper Lane is located off of Frederick Avenue in downtown St. Joe. The store focuses on interior design and eclectic items. Hess said they also offer interior design services for customers wanting to redecorate. 

The Wayfair Bill goes into effect on January 1st, 2023.

For more information on the Wayfair Bill (SB 153 & 97) click here.

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