Local business owners voice opinions on Sunday alcohol sales

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 13, 2017

With Troy citizens voting in favor of Sunday alcohol sales, it is now up to the Troy City Council to draft an ordinance enacting the policy.

With the council authorized to add further parameters through the ordinance, some local business owners are concerned about ensuring their businesses aren’t excluded.

“We don’t want to be left off of it,” said Steve Garrett, owner of both Troy Piggly Wiggly stores. “I’d rather, if people are going to buy alcohol, that they buy it and take it home. I don’t have a problem with people getting a drink while they eat at a restaurant, but I don’t want people having to go to a restaurant strictly to get alcohol.”

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Von Ewing, owner of Trojan Tavern, said he doesn’t particularly care whether he can open his restaurant on Sundays – he says he enjoys having a less stressful day during the week – but he doesn’t want bars excluded if the policy is allowed.

“I think that would be silly,” Ewing said. “I’m 100 percent for putting boundaries on it. I have a bar in Tuscaloosa and there it can only be sold until 9:30 p.m. on Sundays. I think that’s great; I’m fine with restraining the time. But, for me, it’s about fairness. I think if you have a license to sell it, you should be able to sell it. Everybody with a liquor license should be able to sell it. Just let the license speak for itself.”

Councilman Greg Meeks, District 2, said Wednesday that he would like to explore the possibility of limiting on-premises sales to restaurants but that he was open to discussing other options with the council.

Not every business that sells alcohol is planning to take advantage of the new policy.

Carmi Lowery, owner of 3 Notch Package, said his store is going to remain closed on Sundays.

“We’re not going to be open,” Lowery said. “It’s the Sabbath day and I don’t feel right about being open on Sunday. We’re a small brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop store; we still need one day off. We would have some sales on Sundays, but it wouldn’t make enough of a difference for us.”

Ronnie Hamilton of Village Spirits and Wines also said he would be remaining closed on Sundays despite being allowed to open his store now.

Ewing said his doors will be open on Sundays if bars are not excluded from the policy.

“Any day that my doors can be open, I will open them,” Ewing said. “My bar in Tuscaloosa is open on Sundays. It has pros and cons. It doesn’t bother me one way or another.

“For the city, as far as it advancing and getting up-to-date with other cities, I think it’s great.”

Garrett also said that allowing Sunday alcohol sales will be a good step for the city.

“When the hurricane (Irma) hit, it reminded me how many people actually drive through here,” Garrett said. “That’s a lot of lost revenue if we don’t sell on Sundays. Most people that were travelling through didn’t realize they couldn’t buy it on Sundays. They picked it up thinking there was no reason why they couldn’t buy it and then got to the front and realize that it’s Sunday and we can’t sell it. Wherever they went through next is where they got it.”

The council could have a first reading of the ordinance at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 24. The council could then vote on the ordinance on November 14.

Council President Marcus Paramore, District 3, said the ordinance will follow standard protocol, meaning no special called meetings will take place to expedite the process.

District 5 councilwoman Wanda Moultry has said she would like to further delay the allowance to start at 2 p.m. or after to give churches more time to let out.

No other potential parameters have been brought up publicly by other council members at this time.