First day of Sunday sales ‘busy’ for local storesMarch 5, 2018
By CANDY NEAL
JASPER — Tony Collette of Jasper walked out of Holiday Liquors Sunday evening with a case of Bud Light beer in tow.
“It’s odd that I can do this. It still feels weird,” he said, as he loaded the beer into the trunk of his car. “But it’s just as odd that I couldn’t do this last week.”
He was one of dozens of people who visited the north side store on Sunday, the first Sunday in decades that carryout package liquor could legally be sold in Indiana.
“People were waiting for us to open,” clerk Julie Birkle said. “And it’s been steady customers since we opened at noon.” Store co-owner Linda Hopf came in earlier in the afternoon to help tend to the many customers, Birkle said.
After decades of failed attempts, the possibility of stores selling carryout package liquor on Sundays became a reality this legislative session after the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council struck a deal. The organizations have historically been at odds over the issue. The beverage association, which represents liquor stores, has always opposed Sunday carryout sales, stating that it would allow grocery stores to take business away from the liquor stores.
The agreement between the two is that the beverage association will not oppose Sunday sales, and the retail council will oppose any proposal allowing convenience and grocery stores to sell cold beer. Once that agreement happened, the idea of having Sunday liquor sales became achievable.
The bill, which was authored by State Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, allows Sunday sales from noon to 8 p.m. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill Wednesday, and the law went into effect immediately.
The public seemed to appreciate being able to purchase liquor Sunday afternoon. Several folks took selfie pictures with the “Open Sundays” sign in the store’s front window. And people asked Birkle several times if they could purchase anything in the store; they can.
“One guy came in all giddy,” she said. “He said that he was going to a cookout today and found out that it was BYOB (bring your own beer). Someone told him to go to the store and he said that he couldn’t buy alcohol on Sunday. He forgot that it started today. So he was a very happy customer.”
Charlie and Linda Hopf own three liquor stores in Jasper — two Holiday Liquors and Wooden keg — and each saw good sales.
“We’ve been busy,” Charlie Hopf said. “Will this last? I’m not sure. But today has been good.”
There will be some additional overhead costs, since the liquor stores will now be open on Sundays, so Hopf is hoping that the great Sunday sales continue.
“It’s a convenience for customers,” he said. “I do hope this additional business continues.”
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