SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The business of selling alcohol in Indiana will likely be changing this summer with the expected lifting of the state’s decades-old ban on Sunday carryout sales
The Indiana House and Senate have approved separate bills lifting the Sunday sales ban. Final passage is expected before this year’s legislative session ends in mid-March.
The change will spill across the state line to effect stores that have long drawn in the state’s residents looking to get around that prohibition, the South Bend Tribune reported . The change could take effect as early as July 1.
“I never understood the big deal not to do it,” said South Bend resident Tom Gustafson. “Look at all the revenue Indiana lost.”
But owners of some stores just north of the Indiana-Michigan state line and their employees are concerned about losing their competitive advantage.
Hardy Ram, who works for J&B Party store in Niles, Michigan, said he’s expecting a sizable hit to his store when Indiana legalizes Sunday carryout alcohol sales.
“Sunday is the day we make a profit,” he said. “It’s going to hurt us, but it won’t kill us.”
Some small Indiana liquor stores also oppose the legislation, saying big retailers will have advantages over them.
“We’re governed by laws that date back to Prohibition,” said Gary Gardner, operations manager for Fort Wayne-based Belmont Beverages.
Although Belmont Beverages will have to open at least some stores on Sunday, Gardner said he and others believe it will be difficult to get grocery shoppers to make an additional stop at a liquor store on the second-busiest grocery shopping day of the week.
“Most people will just grab it off the shelf while they’re at the store,” he said.
While Indiana supermarkets and chains were in favor of the change, it has been opposed by owners of Indiana liquor stores.
They complain that big retailers have advantages over them. For example, people under age 21 are not allowed in Indiana liquor stores but they’re allowed to walk the alcoholic-beverage aisles in large retail stores.
Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com