published Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Fort O. Sunday alcohol sales begin this weekend

Fort Oglethorpe isn't wasting any time legalizing Sunday alcohol sales, which voters approved Tuesday night.

Three days from now, stores can start Sunday package sales of beer and wine from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and restaurants can sell beer, wine and liquor by the glass from 12:30 p.m. until midnight.

That was a surprise to some Fort Oglethorpe businesspeople, who thought Sunday sales would begin in January.

"I thought it would be after the New Year," said Jay Runion, assistant general manager of the Costco warehouse store on Cloud Springs Road.

Costco employees were making new signs Wednesday to let customers know that Sunday sales are allowed -- to replace the signs that it set up on Sundays near the beer and wine to warn customers Sunday sales weren't allowed.

Runion wasn't sure what impact Sunday sales would have on Costco's bottom line.

"To be honest with you, I don't know what kind of difference it will make," Runion said. "It will make it easier on us, for sure. You have people coming up and trying to buy [on Sundays]."

Mitul Patel, the owner of Beverage World on U.S. Highway 27 at Cloud Springs Road, also wasn't expecting Sunday sales to start right away.

"As of now, I'm just trying to figure out who is going to work on Sunday. We'll work it out, somehow," he said.

Beverage World will sell beer and wine from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m., he said.

Patel thanked Fort Oglethorpe's voters for changing the city's status as a dry island, since Catoosa County and Ringgold voters approved Sunday sales in November 2012.

"The citizens of the city of Fort Oglethorpe, they saw ... we were at a disadvantage," Patel said.

William Venable, shift manager at the Walmart on Battlefield Parkway, said, "I think we're going to see some people very excited about it Sunday."

City Attorney Robbie Stultz said he fielded the first call from a retailer asking when Sunday sales would begin at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"I think it's going to be a tremendous boost to the economy," Stultz said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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