News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Sunday beer and wine isn't flowing yet at Manuel's in North Augusta.
"A lot of people this past Sunday were expecting us to have it! They were asking for mimosas and wine and beer because they were just walking around town. I was like, 'Sorry, we don't have it yet,'" said Felicia Ireland, who works at the restaurant in Hammond's Ferry.
This past Sunday, the owner wasn't in town, and restaurant employees were confused if they could legally start selling beer and wine after voters approved Sunday sales for the City of North Augusta.
This upcoming Sunday will be different. They can start popping open cans and bottles without buying an additional permit.
"It's great to have it because people always want it when we have brunch specials; they want mimosas or wine," Ireland said.
City Administrator Todd Glover agrees.
"If you ask anybody that lives in North Augusta, the one thing they say they want is more restaurants and more options," he said.
Glover says this change could gradually bring in more restaurants.
"As the economy improves, I think we'll see more and more restaurants give a serious look to North Augusta," he said.
But there still could be some hesitation.
Grocery stores and convenience stores wishing to sell beer and alcohol on Sunday will have to fork out $2,200 every two years.
For restaurants wishing to sell liquor on Sunday, it'll cost $3,050 a year. For one Sunday, it'll cost $250.
"I'd rather just not buy it and just sell the beer and wine, even though some people might get upset. That's a big chunk out of any owner's pocket to pay," said Ireland, who admitted that she'd rather drink a beverage containing liquor than beer or wine.
"Those fees are set by the state, but I certainly could understand how a small business might think twice," Glover said.
Manuel's doesn't and won't sell liquor for now. Ruby Tuesday will. Monterrey Mexican Restaurant is still giving it some thought. News 12 is told they may wait until after the new year to apply for a liquor license.
Some local convenience stores are also still weighing their options before applying for seven-day beer and wine sales, too.
Meanwhile, across the river, the Augusta Commission is actually talking about scrapping any extra fees for liquor on Sunday so the city can compete with North Augusta.