BALTIMORE — It's been peddling shoes since 1938.
"I'm waiting on some customers that my grandfather waited on and that's 30 or 40 years ago," said John Bacon.
And now Baltimore's Van Dyke and Bacon is getting a pitch for more business from Comptroller Peter Franchot.
"Okay, I brought some customers in here. Yep," announced the comptroller as he entered the store behind a group of shoppers.
Franchot is stopping off at a handful of business around the state to promote tax-free week, which begins on Sunday and ends Saturday, August 17th.
Back-to-school shoppers can save on articles of clothing or footwear priced at $100 or less.
"Let's be honest. This is kind of a gimmick, but it's turned into something that's enormously popular with Marylanders,” said Franchot, “Last year, we forgave $6 million in sales tax revenue."
But it's also a chance to promote buying from local businesses, who are struggling to survive against internet mega-businesses like Amazon.
"If you've got service, you know as far as surviving, I think we provide a service that the internet can't supply,” said Bacon, “People come in here and we measure peoples’ feet. We look at their foot. We see the shape. We take and measure them, fit them up, tie their shoes, find out how they walk."
It is an approach that has worked for this business for 81 years, yet now must appeal to a generation, which has grown comfortable with on-line shopping, free shipping, 24-hour service and lightning-fast returns.
"If you can find a local shop, whether it be a restaurant, a shoe store or just anything---a cigar shop, Belvedere Square, just find a local retailer, because they are our community," said Bacon, "We employ a lot of personnel and they have families and if we die, you know, who knows what's going to happen?"
Listen below is the taxable and exempt items across the state of Maryland!