For Jack Lanners, owner of Woodbury’s MGM Liquor Warehouse, being able to sell alcohol on Sundays and holidays wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing for the state.
“There are winners and losers,” he said.
A bipartisan bill reintroduced in the Senate this week aims to repeal the long-standing ban of selling off-sale liquor on Sundays. The bill would also allow sales on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (after 8 p.m.) and Christmas Day.
Liquor store owners would have to weigh the extra costs of being open on Sundays versus a seventh day of sales, and much of that is based on a store’s proximity to the Wisconsin border, Lanners said.
There are also moral implications.
“I don’t know how convenient liquor should be,” said Lanners, who lives in Woodbury. “Do you want drive-through?”
Also, he noted studies showing that in other states, where Sunday sales are legal, people don’t buy more alcohol—their buying patterns simply change.
“Minnesota doesn’t lose a lot of business,” Lanners said. “What it should be, I don’t know.”
State Rep. Andrea Kieffer, a Woodbury Republican, said she’s always supported the change.
“I voted for it last year too,” she said.
On Sundays in Wisconsin, “You’re going to see a lot of Minnesota plates,” Kieffer said.
The problem for many independent liquor stores is that places like Sam’s Club have extra cashiers on hand on Sundays anyway, and being able to sell alcohol wouldn’t mean as much, in terms of extra costs, for those larger retailers, Kieffer said.
For liquor store owners, opening on Sunday—should the bill pass—would be a business decision, she said.
Currently, Minnesota is one of 12 states that still ban liquor sales on Sunday.
"We just want to keep things as they are," Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told the Star Tribune. "Wisconsin's got their way of doing things, and Minnesotans have their way of doing things."
The bill was reintroduced by Senators Roger Reinert (D-Duluth) and Jeremy Miller (R-Winona). Last June, 59 percent of Minnesotans polled by Public Policy Polling said they were in favor of the proposal.
The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. If the Senate Commerce Committee Chair decides to hear the bill it will continue to move along in the political process; if not, the bill is likely to die before making it to the floor for discussion.
Patch asked people about the bill on our Facebook page.
Jason: I have always thought it was weird you can't buy alcohol from a liqueur store and that you can't buy a car from a dealership on a Sunday. Neither have ever made sense to me.
Woodbury Patch: They call those "Blue Laws," I think, but I don't know why. It does seem a bit antiquated.
James: They sure do, but now the companies will fight tooth and nail against opening up. It's another days overhead with less sales. Makes more sense to allow sales of beer/wine at grocery stores that will already be open. Then the liquor stores will come around when they see business dwindle.
Jason: I remember when I was a kid in the late 70's barbershops were all closed on Sundays and Mondays. Looking back now, it seems stupid.
Amelia: I'm all for it!!!
Mike: I have no issue. Times have changed and our laws should reflect those changes accordingly.
Kathryn: As a border city, we should be interested in this legislation as it will affect Woodbury more than a lot of other cities. Personally, I have NEVER in 18 years of living here gone over to Hudson when stores were closed in MN. I wonder what the liquor stores in Hudson say about being open on Sundays? Or has it just always been that way, so they wouldn't notice the change....
Sharyl: I am for it.... I entertain a lot of Sundays.... And sometimes forget to get a bottle of wine. Its ridiculous! I have driven to Hudson to buy a bottle of wine or some beer ( impromptu pool parties) and the cashiers in Hudson say its their busiest day b/c of MN shoppers. If liquor stores want to be open on Sundays .... Let them. Makes no sense.....
Jennifer: I used to work in Hudson on Sundays and the parking lots were always full in front of the liquor stores.
Stillwater Patch editor Shawn Hogendorf contributed to this report.