Liquor store owners share concerns over Sunday wine sales

Some liquor store owners say Sunday wine sales doesn't benefit them. (WSMV)

Big changes are headed to liquor and grocery stores, but not everyone's happy about it.

The Tennessee state Senate has approved a bill allowing Sunday wine sales and allowing liquor stores to be open Sundays. Some liquor store owners told News 4 Wednesday, they're not planning to open Sundays even though they can.

The owners said this just doesn't benefit them. Another store owner has a different take.

When people walk into Radnor Wine and Spirits, they're greeted by the same smiling face. It's not just owner Walt Johnson but also Julia, the toothy hammerhead shark mounted on the wall.

"That's quite the conversation piece when people come in," laughed Johnson, looking up at Julia.

The store is familiar to the neighborhood in that way.

"This is one of the last bastions of the neighborhood store," said Johnson. "I've been here for 18 years. When I started, my daughter was two and my son was less than one. Now, they're both in college, and we've got to put food on the table. What I love is the customers."

Johnson said to stick around all that time, change has to happen.

"I'm an old curmudgeon," he laughed. "I hate change, but I've done it, and I'll keep doing it."

Johnson said the approval of the new bill hurts liquor stores by demanding operational costs for more hours that won't be matched by the additional Sunday sales.

"We'll probably sell less because the grocery stores' busiest day is Sunday," said Johnson. "That's taking more of our customers away. For some stores, it may be the death knell for them."

Still, Johnson said he'll be opening Radnor Wine and Spirits on Sundays.

"If we're not open, we're losing even more," he said. "There was a definite set of rules when I started, and they've definitely gone out the window. Y'know, I'm going to say it's unfair, but life happens. I can't sit here and cry over spilled milk. We'll adjust and do what we have to do. It's what's happening."

Once the bill is signed into law, liquor stores can immediately open seven days a week. The sale of wine in grocery stores will begin Jan. 1.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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