Bill to allow Sunday alcohol sales in South Carolina convenience and grocery stores passes House

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

You may soon be able to buy alcohol on Sundays once again in Aiken.

Sales at convenience and grocery stores dried up in December, but South Carolina lawmakers may change that.

People voted to allow alcohol sales in restaurants several years back.

The state briefly included stores in that...and then changed its mind. But a bill going through the senate may soon bring the alcohol--and cash flow--back to businesses.

Serving alcohol on Sundays made the ballot several years back thanks to restaurant owner Sam Erb.

"That passed, it was a huge success, and the following Sunday, we were able to start serving," Erb says.

And a year later, stores could sell it.

"It was a lot of work to run the campaign and raise the money and be successful in the campaign, and then just let the convenience and grocery stores fall under our wing," says Erb.

But some questioned letting stores sell...and now, they're not allowed to. Convenience store worker Shafin Alan says he sold double the alcohol on Sundays, bringing in about $8,000 a month. The recent change caught him off guard.

"One week they come here and buy beer, the next week, they cannot. Yes, it's very confusing," Alan says.

It's also confusing for customers.

Permits to sell on Sunday costs stores $2,000. It's $3,000 for restaurants, but that money goes directly back to the city of Aiken.

This past year part of the forty seven thousand they brought in went toward renovating the community playhouse.

The historic Rye Patch House, where many choose to have wedding receptions, also benefited.

Tax dollars the stores bring in can also help the area.

Something Shafin Alan hopes he will bring in once again.

"We gonna get some business back," he says.

"Just because you can't buy alcohol on Sunday in parts of the state doesn't mean people aren't gonna drink," says Erb.

They may drink, but they can't buy unless the bill passes.

The bill passed the South Carolina house late last week. It's currently in the senate, and lawmakers expect a final decision in a few weeks.

In Aiken County, restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol seven days a week if they have a permit.


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