Small business owners happy Amazon to collect sales tax

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Small business owners in the Charlotte area are happy Amazon will collect sales tax in North Carolina.

Many retailers complained the company's failure to pay sales tax gives it an unfair advantage.

Channel 9 spoke with business owners Tuesday in South End and Dilworth. Located just outside uptown, both areas are booming with new restaurants, apartment complexes and even a shopping center under construction.

"A lot of people seek out South End to start their small business,” said Tobe Holmes, director of Historic South End.

Every day, the brick and mortar stores lose money to online retailers like Amazon, which offer similar products for less because they don't have to charge sales tax. Starting Feb. 1, that's about to change in North Carolina.

Small business owners said it’s about time.

"For years they have gotten away with not having to charge sales tax, which has been an incentive for people to not shop local," said Scott Devorak, owner of Charlotte Running Company.

It's been frustrating for many small business owners. Devorak said he loses thousands of dollars a year to customers spending time looking at products in his store but end up buying online, for less.  

"To me, it's outright stealing from us," he said 

He said Amazon's decision levels the playing field for small businesses, and he hopes other companies will follow suit.

The director of Historic South End said the area is an economic driver for the city and said buying from small business supports the local economy and helps South End thrive. 

"When you stay local, those dollars stay in Charlotte; they stay in South End,” Holmes said.

Read more: Amazon to start collecting sales tax in NC