Not all raising a glass to start of Sunday liquor sales
Published 8:19 am, Friday, May 18, 2012
Not all local liquor store owners are toasting the new law signed this week by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that would make Connecticut the 49th state in the union to allow Sunday alcohol sales, starting this Sunday.
Uyar said his shop with four employees may open on Sundays around the holidays only, instead of all year long, to save on the additional staffing and electricity costs that he would incur every week.
"It's really not worth it," said Uyar, who owns the shop with his cousin, John Damien, of Trumbull. "Our customers are used to buying on Saturdays anyway."
"I don't see it doing anything more for my business other than making me work seven days a week," said Fino, who runs his shop by himself. "I need a day off."
The measure, which the state Senate approved 28-6 before sending it to Malloy, will give package stores and other retail liquor outlets, including supermarkets, the option to sell alcohol Sundays between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The law, expected to bring in an additional $5.2 million in annual state tax revenue, also will allow liquor sales on three major holidays -- Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day -- and Mondays following any Independence Day, Christmas or New Year's Day falling on a Sunday.
"In the end, I think it's going to cost us more," said Vellozzi, who has added a few more employees to his staff of 12 workers to cover the shop on Sundays. "It'll be a convenience to our customers, so that's good for us."
Vellozzi said he hopes Malloy is correct in his projections on how much the state will gain in tax revenue from the extra day.
"If it works out, he'll look like a genius," he said.
Patrick Monteleone, proprietor for Harry's Wine & Liquor Market, at 2094 Post Road in Fairfield, said the legislation does take away a "mandated day off" for Connecticut liquor store owners, but the final bill is a fair compromise from what Malloy originally proposed.
"What was originally set out there was such sweeping changes that it would have run an awful lot of businesses out of business," he said.
Monteleone, whose store will be open, said the original bill would have eliminated minimum per-bottle price requirements and smaller shops' ability to buy in smaller volumes at a discount, giving an unfair advantage to big-box stores.
"They'd help a large store like mine do better, but at what cost?" he said. "Also, when would the really big fish come and run us out of business?"
Supermarkets still will be allowed to sell only beer under the new law, but the number of liquor permits allowed per owner has been increased from two permits to three permits in response to supermarket owners' push to sell wine in their markets.
Stan Sorkin, president of the Connecticut Food Association, said most supermarket owners will not choose to open free-standing package stores as a result of the change, because it would prevent them from selling beer in their markets.
Nonetheless, the allowance for Sunday beer sales in supermarkets is a positive step for consumers and the alcoholic beverage industry in Connecticut, he said.
"It will result in a 6-percent increase in beer sales overall," he said.
His association welcomes an allowance under the new law permitting package stores to sell olives, cheese and crackers, because it will foster competition for the benefit of the consumer, Sorkin said.
"Our philosophy is it's a free-market society," he said.
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