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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Virginia sales tax holiday begins Sunday

Virginia’s sales tax holiday for hurricane and flood preparedness begins Sunday, and local hardware stores are gearing up.

The holiday, from May 25 to May 31, is temporary period when sales taxes are not collectible or payable on purchases of certain items.

The event was created to prepare Virginia residents for hurricane and flash flooding season, which begins June 1.

Some items included in the tax holiday are batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, portable radios, cell phone chargers, portable generators and first aid kits.

For the first time this year, chainsaws are also included.

Find a full list here.

Owner of Earl’s True Value Hardware in Stafford Wayne Broyles offered a few tips for what items are popular for emergency preparedness.

He said batteries and candles are essential, and generators are a good investment to make sure perishable items don’t spoil in the refrigerator without electricity.

He also advised that gas or charcoal grills can be useful when the power goes out.

Broyles said he doesn’t expect a crush of customers during the holiday, but that he’s ready and thinks “it’s a great opportunity for the consumer.”