Tupelo restaurants, stores report steady sales of beer on Sunday

TUPELO – On a Sunday in Tupelo, friends Mitzie Cecil, Derek Smith and Jason Steward drank a few beers at the Main Street Bar and Grill.
Until Sunday, that was unheard of in Tupelo. Sunday marked the first day that participating restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores in Tupelo could sell beer and light wine from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The trio headed out to Main Street to enjoy their first beer purchased in a bar on Sunday.
“I heard they were voting on selling beer on Sundays, and I was like, woot,” Steward, a Verona resident, said. “We’re definitely supporting this.”
Cecil, a Saltillo resident, agreed, saying it was legal to purchase beer on Sundays in other cities she’d lived in.
“I hated it when I moved here from Tampa, because you couldn’t do anything here,” she said. “Now I can drink a beer and watch football, so I’m excited.”
The friends said they hope it can lead to more entertainment options on Sundays.
“It would be cool to have concerts on Sundays,” Cecil said, and Steward agreed.
“Not everybody has to go to work on Monday,” he said.

Sales
Store and restaurant managers were also as happy – for the most part.
The Main Street Bar and Grill introduced new hours and a new, shortened menu to support the new Sunday beer sales. Owner Cathy Smith said she was happy to see the “several dozen” customers who dropped by for a drink on Sunday, but she’d much rather have extended hours on the weekends than be open on Sundays.
Traci Harbor, manager at Old Venice Pizza Company, said she’d seen a jump in business.
“It’s definitely increased sales,” she said. “We have a few customers in here at the bar, experiencing their first Sunday beer and watching some football.”
At Papa V’s convenience store, Sunday meant business as usual – just with beer sales.
“(Customers) have said they’re not buying beer because they want it, they’re buying it just because they can,” said assistant manager Misty Jarvis.
Byron Schexnayder, a cashier at Dodge’s convenience store, said business was similar to any other day of the week there, but folks were adding beer to their usual purchases.
“The most common question we’re asked is, ‘Are you selling beer today?’” he said.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal