Liquor store managers oppose Sunday sales [UPDATED]Published 6:32am Monday, March 4, 2013 Updated 8:36am Monday, March 4, 2013
The idea of Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota doesn’t sit too well with a couple of area liquor store personnel.
“I am vehemently opposed to Sunday liquor,” said Chip Cooper, manager at the Elizabeth Liquor Store. “I don’t see where it would help my business at all.”
Whether to allow liquor sales on Sundays is up for discussion at the Legislature. Minnesota is one of 12 states that outlaw Sunday liquor sales. It’s an issue that’s come up at the Legislature before.
“I’m hoping that they’re smart enough to leave it alone,” Cooper said.
She is worried about the extra overhead costs of being open that extra day each week. There’s things like paying employees, the cost of lighting the store, heat and air conditioning in the summer. Sales would not improve that much to even out those costs, she said.
People are used to purchasing their liquor on Saturdays, when most people do their shopping anyway, Cooper said. The only extra customers Sundays might bring in would be those who run out of something at the last minute, she said.
Jack Uselman, assistant manager at Battle Lake Municipal Liquor, agreed that the additional day would raise the cost for the store, “and it’s not going to give us any more dollars in sales,” he said.
The bill to allow liquor sales on Sundays was developed for those border cities in Minnesota, Uselman said,near Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin. So then people in the border communities would purchase liquor in their cities rather than travel to neighboring states, he said.
“But for the small mom-and-pop liquor store throughout the state, no, it’s not going to help their sales at all,” Uselman said.
In Uselman’s view, people are in the habit of buying alcohol on the six days of the week they can, including those folks that vacation in the area.
“For years, everyone makes plans,” Uselman said. “They buy their beer, alcohol, wine, Friday and Saturday when they’re in here.”
Uselman said if the change were to happen, it would increase labor costs by one-third to be open an extra day.
“We really have to ask ourselves: Do we need to have that sale on Sunday?” Uselman said.
The city of Fergus Falls hasn’t discussed the possibility of Sunday liquor sales yet during this particular session, according to city administrator Mark Sievert, but it has come up in the past. During those past discussions with the city council and liquor store manager, Sievert said the small sales increase “wouldn’t really really make up for the staffing that we would have to have on hand.
“We just didn’t see the advantage of it,” Sievert said.
If Sunday liquor sales were to pass at the state level, Sievert said the council would still have a choice to be open if it wanted to, though the city would probably be forced to because of the market.