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Hall voters to decide on Sunday alcohol sales
Countys retailers hope approval will end disparity with citys stores
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The passage of Sunday alcohol sales in Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Oakwood last November created a disadvantage for businesses that sell alcohol outside of city limits.

Many convenience and grocery stores in unincorporated parts of Hall County, which can currently only sell six days a week, find themselves competing with neighboring businesses that can sell seven days.

That disparity could change after Tuesday's referendum.

Hall County voters can answer two questions about the sale of alcohol on Sundays in unincorporated parts of the county.

The first question will determine whether licensed stores can sell packaged beer and wine on Sundays; the second, whether restaurants and bars can sell liquor by the drink on Sundays.

Although all Hall County voters can weigh in on the issues, it will only affect stores and restaurants in unincorporated areas.

"The whole idea is to try to give equal footing for businesses located in the county versus the cities," Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell said.

Powell said a number of businesses are losing sales because of Sunday sales elsewhere.

Shahad Jilani is a cashier at a Chevron convenience store at 1714 Atlanta Road.

Though the store has a Gainesville mailing address, it is in unincorporated Hall County. So, for now, it can't sell beer or wine on Sundays.

About 40 yards away on the same side of the street is a Citgo Food Store at 1708 Atlanta Road.

That store is within city limits and able to sell alcohol seven days a week.

Jilani said that hurts traffic in the store on Sundays.

Customers who come to buy alcoholic beverages leave for the neighboring store.

Additionally, stores across the county are reporting a reduction in alcohol sales on Saturdays to offset the new-found freedom to buy it Sundays.

For unincorporated Hall businesses, it's not just alcohol sales that are hurt. Convenience store customers are often shopping for more than just a case of beer.

"You're not going to buy a Coke here and beer there," Jilani said. "You're going to go there and buy them both."

 

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