Sunday Liquor Sales Slump?

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Now that local liquor stores have had a few months to get their feet wet with Sunday sales, some are saying it hasn't been all it's cracked up to be and could create a new set of problems.

Part time Grand Junction resident Mitchell Rothman says he never has much time to get things done and ready for his guests when he comes to the Valley for the holidays. Because of that, he's very thankful he can buy alcohol on Sundays.

"Being able to walk into a liquor store Sunday is definitely convenient for us," said Rothman.

But is it convenient for the stores? When 11 News spoke to Fisher's Liquor Barn back in July, the store owners said they would give Sunday sales a six month trial run before making any final decisions. Now they say while Sundays have caused their Saturdays and Mondays to slow down, business has still been good enough to keep going a little longer.

"We decided to go ahead and stay with the Sunday sales," said Brandi Fisher, owner of Fisher's Liquor Barn. "I think our customers are really happy with it."

Other stores, like Crossroads Wines & Spirits, say numbers aren't anything close to what they hoped for when they opened on Sundays in the first place.

"Sunday is our worst day of the week as far as sales go," said Monty Haltiner, manager of Crossroads.

As they become more hard pressed to find the work force and pay costs for one more day per week, Haltiner says staying open Sundays is almost not worth it.

"We've definitely had conversations about whether it's worth being open Sundays or not," said Haltiner. "We're gonna stick with it a little longer. We're going to be moving to a new location so we want to give that location a try."

The liquor stores say they can't say for sure why Sunday sales haven't been stellar. They think it could just be that customers still aren't used to it.

"There's still people who come in and say, oh that's right you guys are open on Sundays," said Haltiner. "It's not even at the forefront of their minds."

But they say that's not the worst of their problems when it comes to Sunday sales. They say grocery stores are trying to use Sunday sales as a way to get full strength beer on their shelves.

"They knew if their sales softened up a bit, they'd be able to come back and say hey, we don't have the sales we used to because liquor stores are open seven days a week," said Fisher. "We'd like to be able to offer six point zero to our customers."

A bill that would have done just that failed to pass this year. Liquor stores say even with this new argument, they hope state lawmakers won't change their minds.

"We don't feel we've taken much away because we haven't gained much in sales," said Haltiner.

11 News tried to contact the Denver based lobbying group who represents the grocery stores about the issue, but calls were not returned Monday.

Liquor stores say once their customers get more used to the idea of buying alcohol on Sunday, they believe those numbers will increase over the course of the next year.

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