NORWALK, Conn. – Anthony Palacios is not thrilled with the idea of working Sundays. But if Gov. Dannel Malloy gets his way, the liquor store clerk may not have a choice.
Will you buy liquor on Sunday if you have the chance?View Results
Will you buy liquor on Sunday if you have the chance?
Yes, it will be a big convenience.49%
Yes, but I'd buy it on Saturday anyway. If it's open on Sunday I won't buy more than I used to.27%
No, my habits are set.24%
Malloy would like to make Connecticut's liquor laws comparable to its neighboring states and plans to introduce legislation to that effect in the upcoming legislative session. Under his proposal, liquor stores and bars would be able to stay open later and controlled "uniform pricing" would be a thing of the past. And most notably, liquor stores would be allowed to open on Sundays and Mondays after holidays.
"Most industry estimates for Sunday sales range from 4 [percent] to 8 percent growth in overall sales, which would equate to between $6.4 million and $11.2 million in new state revenue," the governor's office said in a statement.
Palacios said clerks in most stores would not get time and a half for working Sundays, and it won't mean increased sales. "It's going to even it out," he said. "People are not going to come Saturday. They will come Sunday because they know it's going to be open on Sunday."
His boss at Main Avenue Liquors, owner Peter Ortega, agreed. "Saturday it's going to get slow. It's going to split Saturday and Sunday," he said, adding that the increased electricity costs would not help. Ortega worked for BevMax for seven years, including time in Port Chester, N.Y., where the store is open Sundays. No one wanted to work that shift, he said.
Malloy said in a statement that he would like to give consumers a break, calling the proposals "pro-consumer, pro-'mom and pop' and pro-dollars being spent within Connecticut."
Jennifer Albuck, whose father has owned Wine Cellar at the Soda Man for 24 years, said Malloy has it all wrong.
"I think it's an awful idea and his misinformed, stupid suggestion that it's going to help 'mom and pops' is beyond my comprehension," she said as she worked at the store Tuesday. "How would a bill that's going to allow quantity discounts and get rid of minimal pricing help 'mom-and-pop' stores? It's going to allow Stew Leonard's and BevMax and whoever else to buy a ton of product and sell it as a loss leader to get people in the store and then they'll hike their prices on everything else."
"Stew Leonard's Wines is in favor of Sunday liquor sales being allowed in the state of Connecticut," Stew Leonard, Jr., said in a written statement. "Sales will increase and we'll have to hire more people. We've already proven that at Stew Leonard's Wines locations in New York. President Obama would love to say the same thing about the US economy."
Malloy said Connecticut is one of two states that doesn't allow liquor sales Sundays, but Albuck said that's misleading because a number of states allow only the sale of beer on Sundays in grocery stores.
"My theory is that's why he brought all this other stuff up for debate in order to force us to agree to Sunday sales," she said. "It's going to have to happen anyway, but I can't see why they can't pass a law that lets grocery store owners sell beer on Sundays because that's all people care about anyways. They want to be able to buy a six pack for a football game."
She thinks Malloy has gotten his figures from Anheuser-Busch and other big companies and that his figures are inflated. She said, "To talk about how it will help us 'mom-and-pop' stores is a whole bunch of you know what."
(Updated at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 18 with a comment from Stew Leonard, Jr.)