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Liquor stores prepare to open Sundays in city
Regardless of how they felt about the issue as it neared a vote in November, most liquor store owners in the city are indicating they will be open for business on the first Sunday of 2014.

Brunswick voters approved alcohol sales in convenience, grocery and package stores on Sundays in the city in a referendum Nov. 5.

Beginning Jan. 1, it will be legal to sell alcohol in the city limits between 12:30 and 11:30 p.m. Sundays. The first Sunday of 2014 is Jan. 5.

Package store owners in the city say they will be open the first Sunday of January to see whether it's worth the time and cost to operate seven days a week.

They had, generally, been wary of being allowed to be open Sundays because they thought it would merely spread six days' of sales over seven days, and increase their operating expenses. Convenience and grocery stores are open on Sundays anyway, so any additional cost to them would be minimal.

"We're going to be open 12:30 to 6:30 and see how it goes," said Jim Gibson, owner of JP's Spirits and Wines at 3304 Glynn Ave. "Personally, I would just as soon everybody be closed, but since the county's open, I would like that opportunity, also."

Gibson said he plans to monitor his Sunday sales to determine if it's something he'll keep doing. There is always the option, he said, to close the store Sundays.

Phillip Bluestein, owner of the Grog Shoppe at 1701 Norwich St., said he isn't happy about it, but he will be testing the waters of Sunday sales for the first few weekends of 2014.

Bluestein opposed the Sunday sales referendum, saying that even though opening is optional, it forces him to work every day of the week in order to keep up with his competition.

Remaining closed Sundays doesn't seem like a good option, he said, because he will lose customers to competitors who decide to open Sundays.

Bluestein also operates the Sportsman's Package Store outside the city limits, at 4198 Norwich Street Extension, and said it seems likely that sales at that store in the unincorporated county will fall off after the store in the city is opened Sundays.

"We'll see how it goes and make up our mind then," Bluestein said. "If we do business, we'll stay open. It might be we open one store from then on. We'll just have to take it as it comes."

Glynn County voters in 2011 approved Sunday sales, beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

* Reporter Kelly Quimby writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at kquimby@thebrunswicknews.com, or at 265-8320, ext. 321.



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