“There was a little sales boost, but not a lot,” said Anand Patel with Acworth Tobacco and Liquor off Cowan Road in Acworth, where Sunday sales have been allowed since Dec. 1.
On New Year’s Day, Kennesaw and Smyrna will join Acworth in allowing Sunday sales. Voters in each of the three cities approved their respective measures on Nov. 8.
Voters in unincorporated Cobb and the cities of Austell, Powder Springs and Marietta will cast their ballots on the matter in the presidential primary election on March 6.
The new law allows grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores and drug stores to sell packaged alcohol between 12:30 and 11:30 p.m. on Sundays if approved by voters.
The extra day of sales hasn’t yet boosted business as much as Patel had hoped, however.
“I expected it to be a little busier,” Patel said. “We are getting there though. The more people that start to know about it, the more it’s going to help us, I guess.”
One thing that Patel said he has noticed since Sunday sales went into effect is an increase in new customers.
“We’ve been really seeing a lot of new faces,” he said. “I haven’t seen any of them before.”
The Acworth store is open on Sundays between 12:30 and 7:30 p.m.
One Smyrna store plans to test Sunday sales for a month, but won’t start immediately. Dustin Desautell, a cashier with Smyrna Liquors off Spring Road in south Cobb, said the store will try opening on Sunday for the month of January, but not until Jan. 8 so that employees can have New Year’s Day off.
“We’re not sure how well it’s going to do because we predicted that it will take away from our Saturday sales,” he said Wednesday. “We’re not even sure if we’ll sell enough products to even be open on that day.”
Desautell said the store owners will determine if the sales numbers are worth opening the extra day each week when the month-long trial is over.
“We’ve heard from other counties … that it’s diminishing their Saturday sales,” he said. “(Customers) think about Sundays so they don’t come in on Saturdays as much.”
Craig Maske, a general manager with Sherlock’s Purveyor of Fine Wines, Spirits and Beers, said he is in favor of whatever voters decide in regards to Sunday alcohol sales.
The company is already selling alcohol on Sundays at its store in Decatur, where the law went into effect Nov. 27, and expects to start at its Atlanta location Sunday. It has two locations in unincorporated Cobb County, near Kennesaw and Marietta, and another in DeKalb County. Maske said all three of those locations would sell on Sundays if voters approve the changes in their counties.
However, Maske said he isn’t sure the extra day will translate to more business.
“(Approval) has happened during the busiest season of the year, so it’s hard to say what it’s done,” he said about the Decatur location. “The newness is going to wear off. From what I’ve read and researched, generally there hasn’t been a growth in business if alcohol can be sold on Sundays. I haven’t seen any compelling information.”
Cobb County commissioners, with the exception of Woody Thompson because he was absent, voted unanimously on Nov. 8 to put the referendum on the spring ballot. If approved, it would start June 1.
Austell’s city council voted 5-0 on Dec. 5 to place it on the ballot. If approved, Sunday alcohol sales in Austell would begin March 18.
Powder Springs’ council voted 4-1, with councilwoman Nancy Hudson opposing on religious grounds, on Nov. 21 to place the referendum on the March ballot.
City clerk Dawn Davis said Sunday alcohol sales would become effective when the elections superintendent certifies the election results, which is usually within the week after the election.
The Marietta City Council voted unanimously on Oct. 12 to place the question on the primary ballot. If passed, it would take effect in the city on March 18.
There are 23 businesses eligible to apply for the license in Kennesaw, 25 in Acworth and 47 in Smyrna. If voters approve the change, 253 businesses will be affected unincorporated Cobb County; 6 in Austell, and 85 in Marietta. Numbers for Powder Springs were not available by press time.
A Sunday alcohol sales license for the City of Acworth costs $100 each for liquor, beer or wine, $300 in Kennesaw and $500 in Smyrna. Costs for the county and cities that will be considering the vote in March have not been determined.