Bill to Extend Alcohol Sales Not Popular with Everyone

Updated: 03/06/2014 8:09 PM
Created: 03/06/2014 8:03 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Momentum is growing for the repeal of Sunday liquor sales. Some lawmakers are proposing a range of compromises to the state's current ban.

One includes leaving it up to cities to decide. We talked with a local liquor store owner who doesn't want to see anything change.

Robert Satterwhite is the owner of Buckeye Liquor in downtown Rochester. "We're a small operation, I have myself and I have one full timer and one part time employee,” said Robert Satterwhite of Rochester.

While his store sees steady traffic during the week, Robert says there's no reason to open his doors on Sundays.

"Sunday liquor sales would basically split our liquor sales into seven days versus six,” said Satterwhite.

With only three people working the cash register during the week, "Means I’d have to work the 7th day,” said Satterwhite.

Like many mom and pop liquor stores in our area, Robert opposes the push for Sunday liquor sales, but not everyone feels that way.

"I really think they need to open these liquor stores on Sunday because Wisconsin gets all the business,” said Rochester resident, Levoy Ballard.

The issue is getting bipartisan support. Two Minnesota lawmakers just announced their plans to lift the ban.

"It's unreasonable to not make some progress on this,” said Senator Roger Reinert, (D) Duluth.

The handful of bills being introduced range from statewide repeal to a more middle ground, giving cities the change to decide for themselves. Another option would be only allowing local tap rooms to sell on Sundays.

"What better unsession issues than the repeal of a prohibition era ban that just does not fit in 21st century Minnesota,” said Reinert.

But some don't see the current law as outdated. "As a retailer we deserve a day off too,” said Satterwhite.

Instead, those like Robert Satterwhite are happy with things just the way they are. "If it passes, I personally will probably stay closed on Sundays,” he said.

These new proposals are just a starting point for lawmakers. This issue will head now to the commerce committee's for both the House and the Senate.