Liquor stores mark historic day
RIFLE, Colorado – The first hour she was open on Sunday morning, Kris Euler, a clerk at Jon’s Liquors in Rifle, had 15 customers.
Two of them were actually waiting outside of the front door when the store opened.”They wanted to come in and be a part of Colorado history,” Euler said with a laugh. “They made me take their picture in front of the store.”Colorado liquor stores opened on Sunday for the first time since the end of Prohibition in the early 1930s. Earlier this year the state Legislature approved a bill allowing liquor stores the option to be open on Sundays. Gov. Bill Ritter signed off on the bill, making Colorado the 35th state to permit Sunday liquor sales.Opening on Sundays is voluntary, although most stores in the area have indicated that they’ll participate in order to remain competitive in the market.Local stores said they hadn’t seen a big increase in sales, but pointed out that it was hard to determine with the Fourth of July holiday weekend. “We’ve been pretty slow today, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the holiday,” said Kristi Wirt, owner of the Spirits of New Castle liquor store.
“But we got busier in the afternoon.”The store was open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.”We’re going to do those hours for a month as a trial,” Wirt said. “We’ll see how it goes.”But even though business was slow during the day, Wirt said she also had people wanting to come in on Sunday just because they could.”Someone came in and said they didn’t even want anything, but they wanted to buy something because it was Sunday,” Wirt said.Jean Rowe, owner of Grand Avenue Liquors in Glenwood Springs, also had people wanting to share in the historic moment.
“It’s been pretty slow all day, but I had people at the door when we first opened up because they just wanted to be the first ones to buy beer on Sunday,” Rowe said.All stores said their Saturday sales were slower, speculating that it was largely because there was no need to rush and buy alcohol on Saturday.”Saturday was slow – we had no rush,” Euler said.Wirt echoed her remark.”For us, it was significantly slower,” she said. “But I don’t know if it was because of the Fourth of July weekend or not.”While a majority of area liquor stores are tentatively setting Sunday hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., most say they will take a “wait and see” attitude to gauge how business goes and will adjust those hours if needed.
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