December 2, 2005
Alcohol sales in Aiken stores dry up this Sunday. And that could mean cash stops flowing, too. News 12 talked with business owners to see if they think this will hurt their registers.
Two years ago the South Carolina Department of Revenue issued special permits to let stores sell alcohol on Sunday, but those have now been deemed illegal.
Mike Rushton live sin Aiken County. Since Sunday beer sales aren’t allowed there, he comes to the city of Aiken to buy beer that day.
“I think it’s a good thing for those who drink and for those who don’t want to drink they don’t buy it anyway, so why should anyone care,” Rushton said.
But this Sunday Mike won’t be able to pick up a six-pack in the city either. Sunday alcohol sales are over.
Ketan Patel owns Three-Way Food Mart and is disappointed Sunday shopping will be inconvenient for customers like Mike.
But Patel doesn’t think he’ll lose any money with the Sunday alcohol permit going away.
“If you compare with the license fees versus the business on Sunday, to have it or not is the same thing,” Patel said.
Here at Three-Way they found picking up a six pack on Sunday wasn’t a habit of many customers because Sunday sales were only around for the last two years.
For those who are in the Sunday buying habit, they’ll now have to think ahead.
“If I’m gonna drink on Sunday I’ll buy my beer and stuff on Saturday or Friday,” said Wade North.
And if someone in Aiken still needs a fix, alcohol is legal at Aiken restaurants.
The issue of Sunday alcohol sales coming back to Aiken is expected to be appealed in a circuit court in the future.
In 2002 Aiken voters approved a law that allows alcohol sales inside restaurants only. In 2003, a state board said that law included sales at stores as well. The board changed their mind in 2004. And now we’re back to no Sunday sales. But the debate continues about the wording in that law, and that’s why it’s expected to be appealed.
That decision puts South Carolina back on a similar footing with Georgia in alcohol sales. Restaurants in the Peach State can sell liquor by the drink on Sunday if the city allows it, stores cannot sell it. Grovetown voters just approved Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants.