SALTILLO – Murray Alexander’s pleas to allow Sunday beer and light wine sales on Sunday were heard, but not acted upon, by the mayor and board of alderman Tuesday night.
Alexander, who owns Saltillo Discount Tobacco Store, spoke at the meeting at City Hall. He said that businesses are losing money to Tupelo now that the All-America city allows Sunday sales.
“Our sales have dropped 4 percent in beer sales, even though we’re not open on Sundays,” he said. “The drop has been on Saturdays. The numbers that we’ve gotten from Budweiser and other distributors say that total sales in Lee County have not dropped, but they have dropped outside Tupelo. Which means Tupelo is seeing the increases.”
Tupelo began allowing Sunday sales on Oct. 20.
Alexander said that beer buyers are cutting back on their purchases at Saltillo stores on Saturdays because they can go to Tupelo – as well as Okolona and Corinth – and buy on Sundays.
He and other business owners say Saltillo is getting caught in the middle and getting
squeezed out of the action.
“This is more than about beer,” Alexander said.
For Alexander and other supporters it’s an economic issue.
“It’s about keeping tax dollars in Saltillo instead of somewhere else,” he said. “We’ve always been a city that moved forward.”
But his arguments didn’t convince Mayor Bill Williams or Alderman Brad Woodcock who said they were against Sunday beer sales.
“Saltillo is a nice city and family-oriented and I don’t believe that legalizing Sunday sales just to go along with other cities is moving forward,” Woodcock said.
Williams said that the costs to the community from Sunday alcohol sales were far greater than the benefits.
“Alcohol creates problems,” he said. “Conversely, in the absence of alcohol, the problems wouldn’t exist.”
Williams said he would vote against any move to remove the Sunday prohibition that’s been in place since 1874.
But the board made no motion to act on the matter, which suits Alexander just fine.
“We’re going to figure out what to do next, but I’m thinking that we’re going to start a petition,” he said.
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal