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Sunday alcohol sales passes easily in Hall cities
Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Oakwood voters OK package sales in grocery, convenience stores
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Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Oakwood voters approved Sunday alcohol sales in Tuesday's election.

The vote means that businesses that put alcohol on their shelves, such as grocery and convenience stores, now can begin selling on Sunday.

"It just gives businesses the most opportunities to make the most sales," Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller said Tuesday night, after the vote. "It gives them the opportunity to have a leg up on other jurisdictions around us."

When Sunday sales will begin will vary by city. Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett said Tuesday he would take up the issue with City Council on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly gave local governments the option of putting the issue before voters. 

Hall County has a vote slated for Sunday sales in unincorporated areas next year.

A number of communities already allow alcohol sales by the glass in restaurants on Sunday.

Tuesday night's vote was fairly decisive in Hall County's cities, with 69 percent of voters in Gainesville and Flowery Branch saying they favored Sunday sales.

Oakwood had a much closer vote, with 54 percent in support.

Unlike alcohol votes in previous years, there wasn't as much as organized support or opposition to the issue, something that had mystified Jerry Luquire, who leads Georgia's Christian Coalition.

He said he had been unable to find a church willing to stand with him against Sunday sales.

"I simply do not understand it," he said.

And despite potential benefit from passage, the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores nor the Georgia Food Industry Association weren't hard at work pushing support for Sunday sales.

"What the communities decide is up to the local communities," said Jim Tudor, president of the convenience store organization.

The same issue when before voters in nearly 100 Georgia cities, with metro Atlanta and most of its suburbs approving Sunday sales by a wide margin.