Local eatery owners talk Sunday sales

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2017

Troy restaurant owners have spoken on Sunday alcohol sales, and they’re mostly in favor of putting the policy into place.

City officials are pursuing legislative approval for a referendum on whether or not to change local laws and allow the sales of alcohol on Sunday.

Lindsay Taylor, owner of Sips on the Square, said the policy would give restaurant owners the freedom to make a business decision they currently can’t make.

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“From a business perspective, I think that it would be a great opportunity to capitalize on as much business as you can because it’s another opportunity to open up and be a full-service restaurant,” Taylor said. “One of the reasons we don’t open on Sunday is because alcohol sales are not available.”

The Troy City Council announced in executive committee meeting Tuesday that a local bill is being drafted to allow a referendum on the policy. Council President Marcus Paramore said the referendum would give residents a vote on whether to generally allow Sunday sales. If approved, city officials would set parameters through a local ordinance.

The freedom to sell alcohol on Sundays doesn’t necessarily mean all business owners will want to pursue it though– Taylor said it would be hard to give up Sundays off.

“From a personal perspective, we love Sundays off,” Taylor said. “Ultimately though, it would be a good opportunity as a business owner to capitalize on every day that we can be open. I think having that option is key for the city to be able to progress.

“It truly would open up the opportunity to create more business and create a different dynamic for Downtown Troy as well on Sundays. It has the potential to increase business on the Square during the day.”

Another downtown square restaurant owner, Seth Parker of B. Graves, didn’t give his personal take on the policy but did say that it would be a good thing for the city.

“It’s not necessarily about serving the alcohol, but about additional revenue being kept in the city,” Parker said. “We’re losing a lot of people that go and spend money elsewhere on Sundays.”

Prestons owner Robbie Richburg said he’s definitely for Sunday sales.

“Oh yeah,” Richburg said. “I couldn’t imagine anybody not wanting Sunday alcohol sales. It’s more revenue and we’re more able to give the customers what they want.”

Richburg said that timing parameters could minimize the amount he’d be able to sell though.

“The places I’m familiar with it can’t be sold until 2 (p.m.) and we close at 4 (p.m.) (on Sundays),” Richburg said. “Of course, there could be enough demand to open for more hours.”

When discussing the possible allowance of Sunday sales, the council did bring up the possibility of placing a restriction on the sale until a set time Sundays, specifically starting sales at noon, but the council is far from making any specific decisions on the parameters at this point.

Flo’s owner Ziad Rollins doesn’t sell alcohol at his restaurant, but said he’s another proponent of implementing the policy in Troy. “I’m all for it,” he said.

Donna Driggers, owner of Pete’s Package Store, said that she doesn’t necessarily want Sunday alcohol sales at grocery and package stores, but says it’s a great thing for restaurants.

“It doesn’t bother me that we don’t sell it in the town,” Driggers said. “I think it would be great to be sold in restaurants, but not in grocery stores and package stores. Not a lot of people drive to buy alcohol from a store on Sundays, but a lot of people drive to Montgomery to have a drink at a restaurant.”

The council discussed the possibility of limiting sales to certain license types during their discussion as well, meaning package stores and grocery stores could end up left out of the allowance.

Several counties and cities in Alabama that allow Sunday sales only allow it to be sold on-premises, such as at restaurants or bars, including Green County and Houston County and the cities of Prattville and Florence. Green County only allows Sunday sales at the dog track, while the city of Sheffield more narrowly defines their restrictions to limit Sunday sales to restaurants and motels.

Wilcox County actually does the opposite, allowing only off-premise Sunday sales such as convenience stores, package stores and grocery stores.

Again, the council only discussed the policy generally and took no actions and any parameters that could be set are still far from established.