Norwalk Welcomes Sunday Liquor Sales

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A sign above Stew Leonard's Wines on Westport Road in Norwalk proudly proclaims they will open on Sundays now that Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed a bill allowing liquor stores to be open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Greenwich's Horseneck Wine & Liquor owner Theresa Rogers opened on the first Sunday in style, serving champagne to customers with her husband Phil Matthews. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
(left) State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, and Stew Leonard's Wines manager Rich Beladino opened the store at 10 a.m. Sunday to a turn out of around 5 people in the first 20 minutes. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
(Right) Norwalk resident Doug Hepner said that he had to make an appearance at the first Sunday opening for Stew Leonard's Wines, and that was really the only reason he visited the store -- though he did pick up a bottle of wine. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Fairfield residents can bid farewell to Sunday trips to the closest New York town for last minute alcohol purchases. Liquor stores in Connecticut can now sell on Sundays.

The Nutmeg state has joined the 48 other states in the country that allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays, only Indiana is left. And many business owners are interested to see how it will turn out for them.

According to state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), who was at the opening of Stew Leonard's Wine, allowing stores to be open on Sunday could bring in around an estimated $5 million into the state, “We’ll know better after a year of Sunday sales.”

There is a convenience factor, Duff said, to pulling back from the Blue Laws. “I just like the option,” said Norwalk resident Doug Hepner. He went to Stew Leonard’s Wines when the store opened at 10 a.m. because, “It’s Sunday sales – that’s the only reason I came.”

This way, people don’t have to go to New York to get liquor for a last minute party, like New Canaan resident Melanie McGuire said she has had to do in the past. Having stores like Stewart's Spirits open will be really convenient, McGuire said.

But, Sunday sales could be difficult, said Nicholas Rossi, owner of Purple Feet of Westport, especially since people aren’t thinking about it yet, it’s still too new. He said he had opened around 11:30 a.m. and that his first customer didn’t come in until around 1:15 p.m.

“The more we promote it on a daily basis the more people will remember it’s an option,” said Theresa Rogers, owner of Horseneck Wine & Liquor store in Greenwich.

With alcohol now available for purchase seven days a week, it could become an impulse buy for some people. Westport resident Steve Laitman said, “I saw the sign and I did need some wine,” which is why he said he and his wife stopped at the Purple Feet.

Even so, some have argued that Sunday sales could wreak havoc with the mom and pop stores that fill Connecticut’s alcohol-store landscape. Stamford resident Clausel Berrouet thinks that “what we’re going to see is a slow leak of the mom and pop stores.” He said that the bigger stores will do fine because they have the manpower and opportunity.

Rogers said that she's going to wait and see how Sunday goes before she makes any permanent decisions on when she's going to be open on Sunday. But she thinks that over time, her Sunday sales could be like Saturday.

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