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Sunday Liquor Sales? Plymouth Liquors Says 'No Thanks'

A bill reintroduced in the Senate would give liquor store owners the option of being open on Sundays.

"Not this again."

That was Plymouth Liquors Manager Jim Christensen's response when he heard that a bipartisan bill reintroduced in the Senate this week would repeal the long-standing ban of selling off-sale liquor on Sundays—and would allow liquor store owners the option of being open for business seven days a week.

"I am not in favor of this," Christensen told Patch. "All I can think about is the overhead cost."

Public opinion polls show Minnesotans are in favor of Sunday sales. One way to better understand the issue is to look at the lobbyists behind it.

The state’s liquor lobby—made up of Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association (representing 90 percent of the city-owned liquor stores) and the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association—have long opposed a repeal of the ban.

"We just want to keep things as they are," Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told the Star Tribune this week. "Wisconsin's got their way of doing things, and Minnesotans have their way of doing things."

Among those attempting to repeal the ban are the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the Minnesota Grocers Association.

While repealing the Sunday ban makes sense for border towns, it likely wouldn’t benefit stores in the middle of the state. And another work day on Sunday might put Christensen over the edge.

"The consumer doesn't get it," Christensen said. "I have a cabin up north that I like to go to in the summer time. If I have to work every Sunday, that's not going to happen."

Christensen said Plymouth Liquors is small-staffed already. As the manager, Christensen works 6 days a week. He has 2 full-time employees and 4 part-time workers. He can't afford to add more staff.

There are also moral implications.

"There are plenty of people that have alcohol problems," Christensen said. "I already have people who are in here every day that we're open. Now those people are going to be here 7 days a week."

Currently, Minnesota is one of 12 states that still ban liquor sales on Sunday.

According to a MinnPost report on a policy analysis presented two years ago during a Senate hearing, Sunday sales in Minnesota could mean an estimated $7.6 million to $10.6 million in new tax revenues.

The bill was reintroduced by Senators Roger Reinert (D-Duluth) and Jeremy Miller (R-Winona).

The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. If the Senate Commerce Committee Chair James Metzen decides to hear the bill it will continue to move along in the political process; if not, the bill is likely to die before making it to the floor for discussion.

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Mark Bomchill February 08, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Repealing the ban would not force Plymouth Liquors to open, Plymouth liquors could remain closed on Sundays. If the manager wants to go to his cabin more, Plymouth Liquors could close Mondays too.
rob_h78 February 08, 2013 at 11:48 PM
What about Freedom - the Freedom to purchase alcohol whenever someone wants to and the freedom for a store owner to open their store on whatever day and hours they want to without the government, nanny state shaking its finger at you saying "Oh, no you don't on Sunday". As for people who have problems with booze - I think that drunks have enough synapses left to 'stock up' during the 6 days the booze stores are open to make it through Sunday - so its not like they are suddenly going to go "cold turkey" every Sunday... And does this store owner refuse to sell to people who come in every day? If not, what's up with the sudden moral issue selling them all the booze they want on the 7th day? If that's the concern - and you just have to be open on Sunday - refuse to sell to them when they come in on Sunday.

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