Glenwood area store owners ponder Sunday liquor sales
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Most Coloradans know if you are going to have a Super Bowl party on Sunday, you have to stock up on the beer and wine on Saturday. That’s because of the state’s Prohibition-era “Blue Laws” that prohibit buying beer, wine and liquor on Sundays.
But a proposed bill in the state Legislature, offered by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, would make selling alcohol on a Sunday legal. The prospect of selling liquor on Sunday has led some local liquor retailers to wonder what the possible effects of the legislation will have on their businesses.
“I would probably stay open on Sunday,” said Tracy Wolff, owner of Turtle’s Liquor, 1918 Grand Ave. in Glenwood, adding that many liquor stores in the area are small businesses that take enormous hours to operate. “It would add more to the workload.”
Mark Obrochta, owner of Big Sid’s Bottles, 2306 S. Glen Ave. in Glenwood, said if the bill were to pass through the Legislature, his business would probably remain closed on Sunday so he could spend time with his family ” even if he might take a financial hit. He said the law allowing liquor stores to be open on Sunday is a fix to something that isn’t broken.
“If people really want liquor on Sunday, they should pre-plan it on Saturday,” Obrochta said.
Many liquor store owners enjoy the law because it allows owners to remain home with their families, said Obrochta, who added that he has written to his local representatives about the proposed measure.
“It’s been going great for all these years, and people need a time off anyway,” he said. “It was a mandatory time off, which is rare now. The way American society is, it is go, go, go.”
Meanwhile, Colorado liquor retailers are entrenched against any bills that might enable large groceries to sell other alcoholic beverages besides 3.2 percent alcohol beer, a legislative move that Obrochta and Wolff fear could have a crippling effect on their business. Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, said earlier this month that he is working on a bill that would allow groceries to sell regular wine and beer, but not liquor.
If Safeway, which is right across the street from Wolff’s business, were to sell beer, wine and liquor, it would have a dramatic impact on her business and might move her to eliminate some job positions at her store, she said.
“It would pull the rug out from all of (us local retailers),” Wolff said. “It would be pretty devastating.”
Obrochta, who just purchased Big Sid’s Bottles six months ago, was equally gloomy about his store’s prospects if larger groceries would be allowed to sell booze.
“I got six months into the business, and it would really kill me,” Obrochta said.
Interviewed in the Safeway parking lot across Grand Avenue from Turtle’s Liquors, Alicia Chambers, 35, said any change in the state’s liquor laws wouldn’t have a big impact on her. She moved to Colorado in October of last year from Oklahoma, which has similar rules to Colorado, like not being able to buy beer and wine on Sunday.
“There is no need (for a change in law),” Chambers said. “We do all our shopping before Sunday, like we have for years.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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