When Gov. Bill Haslam signed a measure on Friday allowing the sale of liquor and wine on Sundays, the new rules took effect immediately for wine and liquor stores. Grocery stores will be able to sell wine on Sundays beginning Jan. 6 next year.
The legislature passed the state House 55-35 on Wednesday, and the Senate passed the measure 17-11. Beginning this Sunday, package stores will be able to open their doors from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
Several liquor store owners in the area won’t be open until April 29 because the bill’s passage came with such short notice.
One Stop owner Phil Scharfstein, who also serves on the Tennessee Wines and Spirits Retailers Association, will sell wine and liquor for the first time on a Sunday in the 35 years he’s been in business. He said while he knew the legislation was being considered by Haslam, he was taken by surprise when he learned it had been signed into law on Friday.
He said that he’d been crunching numbers for a couple of hours on Friday to see if opening on Sunday would boost his sales, adding that he thinks the suddenness of the law could have caught consumers by surprise too. He decided to open from noon to 6 p.m. to give Sunday sales a shot.
“I think I can sit here trying to predict what sales will be and if it’s worth being open, but I don’t know until we open the doors what’s going to happen,” he said, adding, “It’s not that I’m opposed to Sunday sales, it’s just we’ve not had that ability. Consumers have been conditioned for so long, the question is, are they going to be willing to come out on Sunday?”
Other package stores in Johnson City will be giving Sunday hours a shot in the next few weeks, including:
AAA Package store, 910 W Market St.
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on April 29
Liquor World, 308 N Broadway St.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 29
Northside Wine and Spirits, 2311 Browns Mill Rd
noon to 6 p.m. on April 29
Parkway Discount Wine and Liquor, 1901 S. Roan St.
noon to 8 p.m. this Sunday
Universal Wine and Spirits, 230 Marketplace Blvd Suite 110
noon to 6 p.m. this Sunday
Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.