Related story: Pendergrass votes 55.1 percent against Sunday alcohol sales
Flowery Branch shoppers might be able to buy wine with their cheese, milk, eggs and bread as early as next Sunday now that an alcohol sales referendum in the city passed.
“It will go into effect when the election results are certified,” said Marja Burney, Flowery Branch city clerk. “We had an ordinance written in case it did pass.”
Burney said she will be putting the results in certified mail to the state today and will consider them certified when they are received.
The referendum also passed in Gainesville and Oakwood, but businesses in these areas might not see changes for a month or two.
Gainesville must revise its alcoholic beverage ordinance before anything becomes official. City Clerk Denise Jordan said Sunday alcohol sales might be talked about at today’s City Council work session, but the ordinance must go through two readings at council meetings, not work sessions, and then the council members decide when it goes into effect.
Oakwood is in a similar situation.
“This will be on the agenda for the December council meeting,” Oakwood City Clerk Tangee Puckett said. “Ours would probably not go into effect until January 2012.”
Business owners’ reactions to the referendum were mixed.
Alvaro Cubias, manager at Northside Bottle Shop in Gainesville, said he felt Sunday alcohol sales were bad for business.
“A lot of people buy on Saturday and they buy a little bit more because they know they can’t get any on Sunday,” Cubias said.
Donald Warra, owner and sole employee at Vine and Cheese in Gainesville, had similar sentiments.
“I don’t like it,” Warra said. “We’re heading into the holidays so I guess I will have to stay open Sundays.”
He said he foresees business spread out over seven days instead of six, and not much of an increase in sales.
“I think most people will want to come to the stores they’ve traditionally supported,” Warra said.
Duncan Corners Bottle Shoppe and Hometown Spirits, both in Flowery Branch, will be open on Sundays.
Larry Koons, manager at Duncan Corners Bottle Shoppe, said the hours of operation will be limited on Sundays, possibly opening at noon or 12:30 p.m.
“I don’t feel like it’s going to help my business very much. The advantage is people who move to Georgia and aren’t familiar with the law ... will be able to buy again on Sunday,” Koons said. “I feel like it’ll help the grocery stores and convenience stores a lot because they’re open anyway, and they’ve got these dead areas right now (of merchandise they can’t sell Sundays). I feel like for us it’s going to be a wash.”
For Hometown Spirits, however, manager Sandy Merickle believes Sunday sales will be a boon.
“I think it’s going to be very good for the city and the county. We get a lot of business from the Atlanta area because we’re so close to the lake,” she said. “I’m hoping it’ll be an increase in business. ... On Saturday, people will go to the lake and on Sunday they’ll be back because they drank what they already bought.”