Sunday alcohol sales catching on in city

Although many people still don’t realize it, Atmore residents and visitors no longer have to cross the state line or drive to another city to buy beer or wine on Sunday.

The Atmore City Council passed in January a resolution that removed the “blue law” restrictions on Sunday sales of packaged alcoholic beverages. Such sales were previously prohibited between 2 a.m. Sunday and 12:01 a.m. Monday, but may now be legally made after 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

The new sales hours began March 25 after the Alabama Legislature approved the local legislation, a measure that was introduced on behalf of the city by State Rep. Alan Baker.

Mayor Jim Staff said it has taken a while for locals to get used to the idea that they can now quench their thirst for beer or wine without leaving town. But, he added, an informal survey he conducted last week indicates that a growing number have come to that realization.

“I talked to a few of the service station-convenience stores, and they say (Sunday sales) are getting faster and bigger,” Staff said. “I guess people are starting to understand that they can buy it here.”

He said the manager of one retail outlet wasn’t even aware that the measure had been enacted.

“I went out to (the retailer) to ask how the Sunday sales were going, and (the manager) thought it still wasn’t legal to sell beer or wine on Sunday,” he said. “I showed (the person) that we had done everything we were supposed to do to make it legal. It was a total surprise to the manager of that store, but none of the other stores didn’t realize that they could sell on Sunday.”

Staff said lifting the ban on Sunday sales was a means of keeping local dollars within the local economy and increasing municipal revenues.

“This way, we keep all that revenue right here, instead of it going somewhere else,” he said.