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Stores begin Sunday alcohol sales

Posted: January 7, 2013 - 3:34pm
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Multiple signs informing customers that alcohol is now sold on Sundays are posted in the beer and wine aisles of the Publix on East Martintown Road in South Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.   JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Multiple signs informing customers that alcohol is now sold on Sundays are posted in the beer and wine aisles of the Publix on East Martintown Road in South Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.

At the Publix Super Market in North Augusta, the refrigerator cases stocked with beer and wine used to be dark on Sundays. The passing of a referendum allowing Sunday sales in the city has turned the lights on for the grocery’s customers.

Publix is one of five North Augusta stores that acquired licenses for selling beer and wine for off-premise consumption on Sundays since the citywide referendum was approved by 68 percent of voters in November. Two Kangaroo Express locations, Kroger and Bi-Lo also have approval. Additionally, Ruby Tuesday can sell alcoholic drinks on Sunday.

The convenience for regular shoppers played a large role in Publix applying for the permit, said Brenda Reid, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-division Publix stores. Sunday was already one of the busiest shopping days, she said.

“Over time, customers began asking us about purchasing alcohol on Sundays,” Reid said. “We didn’t anticipate an increase in the number of customers.”

Glynn Jenkins, a spokesman for The Kroger Co., said that Sunday is a busy day for shoppers and North Augusta residents. They showed that they wanted the right to buy alcohol on that day by passing the referendum and repeatedly in feedback to the store.

“While it’s too early to speculate on the long-term impact, we have routinely heard from customers who are favorable and pleased to purchase beer and wine on Sunday.

Sunday alcohol sales began at Kroger on Dec. 16 and at Publix on Dec. 23.

Publix rolled out Sunday sales at its Georgia stores over the past year after a change in state law allowed individual municipalities to decide whether to allow Sunday sales. Reid said customers reacted slowly to the change and stores did not experience a surge of customers. The North Augusta store also had a smooth transition, she said.

Mayor Lark Jones said Sunday sales should help the city attract restaurants.

“When the surrounding jurisdictions allow sales, it becomes an impediment,” Jones said. “If your rules are more restrictive, you’re at a competitive disadvantage.”

SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES PERMITS

The Local Option Permit allows businesses to sell liquor by the drink on Sundays for on-premise consumption. To apply, a business must have a valid liquor-by-the-drink license – PLB or PLC – that is in good standing. The business must also submit the following information to the South Carolina Department of Revenue: a completed and signed ABL-29 or ABL-29A form, a copy of its business license issued by the city of North Augusta, and pay a fee of $200 per Sunday or $3,050 for one year.

The 7-day Off Premise Beer/Wine Permit allows businesses to sell beer and/or wine seven days a week for off-premise consumption. To apply, a business must have an off-premise beer and wine permit – PBG – that is in good standing. The business must also submit the following information to the SC DOR: a completed signed and notarized ABL-901 form including the consent and waiver, the original ABL license, a copy of the current business license issued by the city of North Augusta, and pay an upgrade fee of $550.

For more information or to access forms, go to www.sctax.org/Tax+Information/abl/default.htm.

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