Baldwin, Milledgeville voters get their say on Sunday package sales

lmorris@macon.comOctober 17, 2012 

It was mostly the loss of revenue to surrounding counties that prompted Baldwin County officals to ask residents whether they wanted package liquor sales on Sunday.

Milledgeville agreed, and the issue is on the November ballot for voters of the city and county.

A “yes” vote would allow packages sales of alcohol to be sold from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Ralph McMullen, the interim county manager, said the county was getting calls mostly from convenience stores asking for Sunday sales of packaged alcohol.

“They said that people are going across the county lines,” McMullen said. “We are definitely losing revenue, so we put it on the ballot to let people choose.”

Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley said grocery stores and convenience stores would benefit the most from the new hours because they are already open on Sunday.

“There was some non-interest by the package stores,” Bentley said.

“I think the community will pass it simply because it puts us in competition with other communities, so these dollars will remain here,” Bentley said. “You can already go to an eating establishment now and buy alcohol by the pour.”

The Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Milledgeville now sell beer and wine six days a week, spokesman Paul McLaughlin said.

“Most of the states and municipalities where we do business currently allow alcohol sales on Sunday,” McLaughlin said in an e-mail. “The vote will probably not affect our sales in a huge way, but it does allow for more convenience for our customers.”

Jeff Chambers, who owns the Stop & Shop convenience store on Gordon Highway, said he thinks “it’s a good thing. I think it will help all convenience stores. All are open on Sunday anyway.”

Bentley would just like people to vote.

“It’s very important,” he said. “As always, we encourage people to vote your convictions regardless of what your position on issues are, including the Sunday alcohol sales. We hope the turnout is very heavy.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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