Mayors Turn on Tap for Sunday Booze Sales

Store owners are mixed on the idea

By Amanda Raus
|  Thursday, Feb 11, 2010  |  Updated 6:46 AM EDT
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Liquor store owners have mixed reactions on implementing Sunday sales, but mayors of three cities want it.

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The controversy over Sunday liquor sales has sprung up once again with the mayors of Connecticut's biggest three cities supporting the issue.

Mayors Bill Finch, of Bridgeport, John DeStefano, of New Haven, and Eddie Perez, of Hartford, say this provides an economic opportunity the state shouldn't pass up.

"We on the border line and everybody keeps saying, 'Are you going to open Sunday?' And I say, 'We're Connecticut, not Massachusetts.' Massachusetts' been open for seven years, so it's about time Connecticut say yes, pass for Sunday," said Angie Nguyen, the owner of Angie's Stateline Package Store on Route 5 in Enfield.
 
A recent report says selling booze seven days a week could provide the state with an additional $8 million in tax revenue.
 
"I think with the economy the way it is, any kind of consumer spending is a positive way to go," said Rick Ouellette, who owns Shaker Farm Market in Enfield.
 
Some liquor store owners say they're actually losing business by not being open on Sundays, because when people want to buy liquor, they go elsewhere.
 
"I always go to Mass(achusetts) on Sundays to get my alcohol, so I think they should keep it in Connecticut. They're losing a lot of money," said Joe Whalen of Enfield.
 
When Dane Cooper, of Enfield, decides to buy liquor on Sunday's, he drives to Springfield.  
 
"Now I'm paying them, when I could have gave it to Connecticut," he said.
 
But others don't agree with the numbers. The Connecticut Package Stores Association has opposed Sunday sales for years because they don't believe it would increase revenue, just spread it out over more days.
 
"If the money were there, my people would want to be open. We'd be at the Legislature asking them to be open," said Carroll Hughes of the Connecticut Package Stores Association.
 
Also, some store owners say adding another day to their workweek will just add more costs.
 
"I'm going to have to open up and pay electricity, cooler bills, employees, it's just not going to be profitable for me," said Paula Chu, who owns Enfield Discount Wines and Liquors on Elm Street.
 
It's far from a done deal. Despite the support of the three mayors, it's ultimately up to the lawmakers at the Capitol to decide on Sunday sales.

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