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North Fulton liquor store owners say Sunday sales so-so


Store owners: Sunday alcohol sales did not boost business, but it didn't hurt either



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Interior of POP'S! Wine and Spirits in Suwanee. ABBY BREAUX/Staff. (click for larger version)
September 25, 2012
NORTH FULTON, Ga. —North Fulton's liquor storeowners have seen very little change in business since many cities lifted the restriction on Sunday alcohol sales late last year.

Ed Magyer has owned the large Beverage Depot liquor store in Milton for almost 14 years and said his profit margins are within pennies of where they were prior to the change.

Magyer said his prediction last year was that Sunday sales would simply pull from Saturday and overall sales would remain unchanged.

"Basically, we're still doing the same volume that we were doing in the past, except instead of doing a busier Saturday, it's spread out between Saturday and Sunday," he said.

Magyer, like other local storeowners, was initially opposed to Sunday liquor sales, but now feels the change has been relatively smooth.

"The overhead did go up with utilities, coolers and personnel," Magyer said. "But [opening on Sunday is] most definitely not a hardship on us, it's just another day."

Tana Coleman, owner of All About Spirits Liquor in Milton, has not seen any significant change to her bottom line either.

Coleman and her husband opened their small liquor store over two years ago and have only lost the benefit of taking off one day each week.

"[Opening on Sunday] slows down Saturday and just flattens out the sales for Monday and Saturday," Coleman said.

For Coleman, a typical Sunday brings in roughly $500 in sales. In almost a full year, the store has made $1,000 on a Sunday only twice.

"It's just not worth our one day off," Coleman said.

Another store, Johns Creek Wine and Crystal, opened in May 2011 – just before the vote passed.

"Sundays have become one of the better days of the week for us," said David Metz, general manager.

As the store focuses on wine only, Metz said most Sunday customers come in to buy single bottles that are likely unrelated to sports or parties.

"People definitely have mentioned and like the flexibility of being able to purchase on Sundays," Metz said. "It gives them the freedom to decide rather than being forced to buy on Saturday nights."

The largest beneficiaries of Sunday alcohol sales were convenience stores and supermarkets. None of the supermarkets we contacted for this story wanted to comment for this article.

Supermarkets did not have any additional costs on utilities or staff once the change took effect, but smaller independent businesses had gotten used to having Sunday off and working six straight days.

Magyer and Coleman have also heard positive comments from customers who come in to shop on Sundays.

"I've never had any negative comments at all. Whoever comes in on Sundays is grateful," Coleman said.

Magyer went on to point out that liquor stores stand to benefit from being open on Sundays prior to national holidays such as New Year's Day or Christmas, which is typically his most profitable day each year.

Outside of Sunday alcohol sales, Magyer has seen a steady growth in revenue over the past year.

"Even this past month, I was up 15 percent, which is encouraging to see," he said.

Magyer attributes this change to possible improvements in the economy.

However, despite the cause of the increase, Magyer said that Sunday liquor sales was an inevitable change and is happy to offer the additional benefit to his customers.

"They love it because it is convenient," Magyer said. "We're a 24-7 society and you've got to change with the times."

MH 092612

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