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Sunday Liquor Sales Begin

by Kayla Paine | November 26, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.

Now residents don’t have to leave Northwest Arkansas to buy alcohol on Sundays.

Proposals to sell on-premise and off-premise alcohol in Springdale and Tontitown on Sundays were passed during the Nov. 6 election.

Before Sunday, residents had to travel to Missouri or Oklahoma to purchase alcohol on Sundays.

After the votes had been cast and passed, Springdale and Tontitown businesses that possess an off-premise alcohol license from the state needed to wait for the Washington County Election Commission to certify the vote. The commission certified the votes for Sunday liquor sales on Nov. 21. Sales began Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Jim Phillips, the president of the Springdale Liquor Association, a management company for seven of the liquor stores in the city, said that he wasn’t expecting to be able to sell alcohol on Sundays until December. All of his stores but two were open Sunday. He said he had to scramble to find employees willing to work on such short notice. He anticipates needing to hire more part-time positions.

Drive-through service was used heavily at Phillips’ stores Sunday.

“People have been using the drive-through more than they would normal days of the week,” he said.

“It’s probably because they just want to pick up their choice beverage and go watch football.”

At Tontitown Liquor, business was slow. Matthew Barnes, an employee, said that most of the people came in just to buy something because they could, not because they necessarily needed it.

Despite business being slow, Barnes believed that Sunday liquor sales in Tontitown would pick up more business from surrounding cities when more people in Northwest Arkansas knew that they wouldn’t have to travel to a different state to buy alcohol.

Patrons at WiIllie James Restaurant and Pub could already buy alcohol on Sundays because the restaurant had a private club permit.

Brittany Pianalto, owner of Willie James, said that a lot of customers walk out when they find out that they must have a membership and write down their information to purchase alcohol.

“I hope that after we switch our permit to a normal one and no longer require membership, that those people who leave will actually stay and enjoy our food,” said Pianalto.

She also said that tax on the alcohol will be a much smaller percentage after switching the permit.

Benton County and Madison County voted to become wet counties in the election. The proposals for Sunday alcohol sales were largely driven by the anticipated loss of revenue for the cities if the neighboring counties were to start selling alcohol. Phillips believes the Sunday liquor sales will also benefit many businesses in Springdale.

“People have a reason to come to Springdale now, maybe they’ll buy other things here too,” he said.

Print Headline: Sunday Liquor Sales Begin


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