Will they open for Sunday liquor? Yes, maybe

by Aaron Brom & Susan Van Cleaf

Sun Press Newspapers

Now that Gov. Dayton has signed on House File 30, liquor sales will now be permitted as of Sunday, July 2.

The new law repeals the ban on Sunday alcohol sales.

All Minnesota Representatives in this area — Joe McDonald, Eric Lucero, Jerry Hertaus and Joyce Peppin ­— voted to approve House File 30, as did Senators Mary Kiffmeyer, David Osmek and Warren Limmer. Sen. Bruce Anderson voted to oppose.

Crow River News called area liquor stores, and while most indicated they would open July 2, some aren’t yet sure and others didn’t respond.

One that will be open on Sundays is Rogers’ only liquor store, the Rogers Municipal location. Manager Gary Buysse, who is also President of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, said making the change will require some work such as staffing, but that his Rogers store as well as other municipal stores wish to “keep customers happy and coming back.”

“We’re looking forward to having another opportunity to serve our customers,” he said. “We need to be creative to retain the same profit, but we are here to do what our consumers want and make their shopping convenient and enjoyable.”

He said some smaller liquor stores “will need to find creative ways to retain business,” due to competition from consumers who visit grocery stores and shopping centers on a Sunday. “Those packages bought at a small store could now go to a larger big box in the metro area,” he said.

Hanover Wine and Spirits co-owner Chad Perkins said his store would probably be open. “We’re going to have to test it and see how it works,” he said.

Perkins added that his store was neutral regarding support of the bill. “We’ll have to tweak how we do our staffing a little bit to alleviate extra costs.”

In Albertville, Westside Liquor responded that it would be opening for Sunday sales. Coborn’s of Albertville didn’t respond as of press time. In St. Michael, Cashwise Liquor indicated all their Minnesota stores will be opening for Sunday sales. The St. Michael Liquor Store on Central Avenue said they don’t know yet if they will open on Sundays.

In Corcoran, City Administrator Brad Martens said, “We’re looking into it. Staff is going to begin our review of the impacts of the legislation and our options first. This will take place in the next few weeks. We then intend to bring options for City Council discussion in April (on either the 13th or 27th). I also want to talk with the existing off-sale stores in town (Bottle Shop, Mama G’s, Stanchion, 10-50 Club) to see what their thoughts are.”

Tim Bevins owns the Corcoran Bottle Shop and the Tonka Bottle Shop in Minnetonka. He said, “If the state had not passed it (Sunday liquor sales), I would be for not being open. They did pass it, so I will be open. I see this as a good thing. This is something the public wants. Lots of stores are open on Sunday.”

Bevins said his stores will be open on Sundays because of the competitive situation. Stores in communities around Corcoran and Minnetonka will be open.

He expected his stores to have the same amount of sales under the old statute as under the new one, with sales receipts spread over seven days rather than six. He predicted that sales would be lower on Saturdays and Mondays, because customers know they can stop in on Sunday. Expenses for the two Bottle Shops are likely to be higher, making it necessary for them to raise prices to cover costs.

“The problem for the mom and pop stores is Sunday is their day off,” Bevins said. Large liquor stores have the advantage of a larger staff to cover the extra day.

Medina City Administrator Scott Johnson said that Medina’s liquor ordinance already follows state liquor statutes. Medina might need to make minor changes in its ordinance to make sure that it is in accord with the new state statute. City staff is looking into it.

Beth Horner, administrative assistant for Independence, said city staff has not yet discussed Sunday liquor sales. The Ox Yoke Inn is the only establishment in Independence that sells liquor on a carry out basis.

Maple Plain is sister city to Independence. City Administrator Bobbie Schoen said his city administration has not yet talked about Sunday liquor sales and liquor store owners have not approached the city. Maple Plain would have to research the issue before deciding whether to address it with an ordinance change. “Feedback from liquor store owners is very important to our city,” he said.