Fort Wayne liquor stores get ready for Sunday sales once Gov. Eric Holcomb signs bill Wednesday
Things have moved quickly for Indiana Sunday liquor carryout sales with Gov. Eric Holcomb preparing to sign the bill Wednesday. Local liquor stores say they’re ready for when the law goes into effect.
The Indiana Senate voted 38-10 on Thursday to send the bill to Holcomb, who planned to sign it into law early Wednesday afternoon. The House earlier passed it 82-10.
“I think it’s symbolically important,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, to The Associated Press after the bill’s passage last week. “We are modernizing our alcohol laws in a way that I think the public supports.”
The bill removing the Prohibition-era ban on Sunday carryout liquor sales was revised from going into effect July 1 to when it is signed. So package liquor stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores and restaurants that meet the requirements to sell carryout could start selling liquor this Sunday. While hours for sales are 7 a.m.-3 a.m. Monday-Saturday, they’ll be just noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
The change within the last week of moving the date up from July 1 to what looks to be this Sunday had businesses like Cap n’ Cork speeding up their plans.
Cap n’ Cork has hired extra people so its 15 stores will be open Sundays, said co-owner Joe Doust.
Belmont Beverage had added staff, too, said Gary Gardner, operations manager.
“Will I need more people in the long run? Probably,” he said.
While he says the company is ready, “boy it would be wonderful if we had a little lag time.”
It’s something that places such as grocery stores, which are already open and staffed Sundays, don’t need to make allowances for, he said. Those places also sell a wide variety of items that will draw in buyers. “There’s only 15 items I can sell,” he said of the company’s 33 stores. Those items include beer, wine and hard liquor in containers; tobacco; warm water and pop; lottery tickets; and bar supplies.
He expects business to be slow at first as residents raised here who are used to the “closed” sign on liquor stores and the grocery liquor store aisle being roped off on Sundays realize that they can buy liquor. It will “be a while for them to remember, ‘Oh, yeah, Belmont is open. I can swing by there,'” he said.
He expects business to pick up much more as the weather gets hotter and people are out at games and make a run to the liquor store. However, he doesn’t believe the amount of beer sold in Allen County will suddenly explode. “It will be the same amount over seven days instead of six.”
Places more on the border, such as Angola lake-goers who’d head to Ohio or those who’d head over to Michigan and now can get it in South Bend, should see more sales, he said.
Jimmie Schindler II, owner of Bandido’s, said he’s been asked if he’s worried that the change could cut into his restaurants’ Sunday alcohol sales. “I don’t think so. … I think it’s a good thing.”