Glenwood Springs, Rifle liquor store owners don’t like what’s brewing |

Glenwood Springs, Rifle liquor store owners don’t like what’s brewing

Pete Fowler
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Working in his liquor store on Sundays, Ken Robinson often sees puzzled-looking people pull on the door handle. But it’s locked.

Liquor stores haven’t opened for business on Sundays for 75 years, but Robinson sometimes works Sundays while the store is closed. The confused people he’s seen hoping to buy booze on Sundays must have been from out of state or didn’t know which day of the week it was.

“It’s amazing how many people do try to come in,” said Robinson, owner of Roaring Fork Liquors in Glenwood. “They pull on the door and look at you with a quizzical look. The closed sign doesn’t seem to work sometimes.”

But people may find those doors open starting July 6. Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill Monday that would allow retail stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. It makes Colorado the 35th state to permit Sunday liquor sales at retail stores.

“It was a tremendous benefit to consumers and saves a great deal of time for people who only have Sunday to shop,” Ritter said after signing the bill.

Robinson feels the change is the lesser of two evils. He’s glad that grocery stores weren’t allowed to sell full-strength beer.

Many liquor store owners don’t want to lose the Sundays they have off. They also fear switching to seven days a week will spread sales out rather than boost them overall.

“I’m not going to be thrilled about it. Sunday was my only day off,” said Liz Stinson, owner of Rifle Liquors.

Paying to staff employees on Sundays could cost as much as $50,000 a year, and sales probably won’t cover enough of the cost, she said.

Robinson said experts predict a 5 to 6 percent increase in liquor sales, but he remains skeptical sales will increase at all. He believes they’ll increase in resort towns like Aspen and Vail, but he doubts they will in Glenwood.

“I think there’s a finite amount of drinkers out there and a finite amount they’re going to drink,” he said.

Robinson predicts micro-brew sales might see a slight increase with people stocking up to watch sports games on Sundays. Stinson said oil and gas workers in western Garfield County might be happy to buy on Sundays if they’re used to laws in other states. But she said most everyone here is already used to not buying on Sundays.

Grocery and convenience stores asked Ritter to either veto the bill or allow them to also sell full-strength beer. They say allowing liquor stores to sell on Sundays will kill their 3.2 beer sales. Some liquor store owners fear that argument opens the doors for grocery and convenience stores to win full-strength alcohol sales.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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