Impact of Sunday sales anybody’s guess

TUPELO – Sunday beer and light wine sales become legal in three days, but retailers and restaurateurs expect business as usual, alcohol or not.
Most, though, hope that over the long term, the city’s recent lifting of the Sunday beer ban will bring only positive results.
“I think it will be a normal day,” said John W. Robbins, owner of Papa V’s downtown convenience store, which sells a large assortment of domestic and imported beer.
“I do think we’ll see an increase over time,” he said, “but the biggest increase will probably come for the restaurants.”
The City Council last month voted to permit Sunday sales of beer and light wine – which are basically wine coolers – after a highly visible and emotional debate. Like most decisions that amend city code, a 30-day period has to pass before it takes effect.
The new law allows sales from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The ban on purchasing liquor and wine on Sunday remains.
Carrie Dickinson said she’s eager to see how the change influences business. Dickinson manages Chili’s restaurant in the Barnes Crossing shopping district. While it draws a large post-church crowd, it doesn’t attract too many Sunday football fans – not yet, anyway.
“I do think it will have a positive impact on the business,” Dickinson said. “We always keep the game on on Sunday, so hopefully this time we’ll get a big crowd.”
Vanelli’s restaurant owner vazVanelli also wants a big crowd, but he will cater to diners on both sides of the Sunday alcohol debate. The Greek-Italian eatery will serve beer and light wine in the bar and patio but will prohibit it from its family dining area.
“We always want to be of service for those who have need of our services,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think the city’s ordinance amendment will have a huge impact on business.
Neither does Jose Luis Cabral, who owns Cancun Mexican Restaurant at Crosstown. “It will just be the same,” he said.
Ditto for many grocery stores in the city, which for the first time will lift the plastic sheets from the refrigerated beer aisle this Sunday.
“The only thing we have to do is turn off the block at the register,” said Howard Brannon, store manager at the Walmart at Barnes Crossing. “There’s nothing different on that aspect of it.”
Kroger stores also will lift the cash register block on Sunday beer and wine cooler sales, said Crosstown manager Carl Brown.
As for the expected sales volume on that day, Brown – like many others – simply doesn’t know.
“We’ll see,” he said.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal