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Sunday morning liquor sales reaction mixed

December 08, 2010 - Sunday morning may be a whole lot different soon for Ortonville business owner Mike Toma.

"I'm against the new hours to sell liquor," said Toma, owner of Beer World, 2041 S. Ortonville Road. "I don't see my family now—extra business hours on Sunday is going take away their time."

Beer World is just one of thousands stores that may start selling liquor on Sunday morning later this month after the State Senate approved the bill in November by a 25-13 vote that would allow Sunday sales to begin at 7 a.m. for retailers paying an extra fee. The House approved the bill by a 81-21 vote. Previous law bans liquor sales from 2 a.m. to noon Sunday.

"Some of my customers go to church on Sunday, some are sleeping. We don't get busy until about 2 p.m. anyway—why pay that extra $160?" said Toma. "We don't open until noon and if I have to come in earlier, it's going to end up costing me."

"The state just wants the money," said Toma. "It's not going to help our business at all. The state gets the fees for their coffers—there are thousands of stores out there each now paying more money out of their profits."

According to a statement from Sharon Martin of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, the agency will be posting applications for the $160 license needed to sell alcohol on Sunday mornings and notified local governments about the new law. Local governments will have until Dec.15 to contact state officials if they opt to ban Sunday morning sales.

According to the Michigan Township Association, the new law will allow local establishments to sell on Sunday mornings, if they apply for and receive a permit, until such time the community votes to prohibit Sunday sales or the township board votes to ban Sunday sales. For those townships that currently allow Sunday sales, but are concerned regarding the extension of sale hours into Sunday morning, the only option offered to the township is to prohibit sales all day on Sundays.

Bob DePalma, Groveland Township supervisor, said he sees no reason to alter the Sunday morning liquor sales.

"We just don't see a big issue here," said DePalma. "We'll just let the law go through."

Liquor control officials are still working to implement the new law.

Joe Dore, manager of Bueche's Food World, 400 Ortonville Road, said on about 48 of the 52 Sundays in a year, customers will come in and attempt to purchase alcohol before noon.

"We at Bueche's Food World are open 24 hours per day," said Dore.

"Chances are we'll provide the license for the 7 a.m. sales as a convenience to our customers that choose to shop on Sunday mornings. For many customers that's the only time they have to shop."

Phadia Reed, owner of Bottoms Up Food and Spirits, 14000 block of Dixie Highway, Groveland Township, said it would not be worth it to sell that early on Sunday,

"We don't plan on opening any earlier on Sunday anyway, so I don't think we'll spend the $160 for the extra hours," she said. "If we were in a location near a factory where business would come in on a Sunday, then maybe it would make a difference."

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