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Sunday alcohol sales on tap
Local owners hope for boost in business
In this Herald file photo from February, Georgia Southern University students Casey Murck, left, and Cameron Lemieux enjoy an afternoon at Gnat's Landing. Gnat's plans to open on Sundays, now that they can sell alcohol. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File

A November vote to abolish blue laws in Statesboro, and subsequent amendment to the city’s alcohol code, will for the first time allow residents to purchase alcohol on Sundays beginning this week.
Starting at noon Sunday, beer, wine and all other spirits will no longer be off-limits to restaurant patrons and local owners are opening doors and extending their warmest invitations to the public. Grocery stores and convenience stores also will be able sell beer and wine on Sundays.
“I am really excited about it,” said Jim Lanier, owner of Locos Grill and Pub. “Sunday is one day that for the past 10 years has been kind of a throwaway day. We would open just for the consistency of being open and get what little bit of business we could.”
“I am looking forward to Sunday being a day that will actually create some meaningful sales,” he said.
Throughout the city, restaurants that have traditionally operated only six days each week, and others that have never been able to maximize Sunday revenues, expect a boost as a result of the amended law.
“I am very excited about (Sunday sales),” said Per Holtze, general manager at Manny’s Neighborhood Grill. “Being able to add alcohol on Sundays will add a new dimension to our business — because of crowds that like to come and watch football. I think it will be a big boost for us.”
“It is not all about alcohol,” Lanier said. “Our food sales are almost 80 percent of our sales. For years and years we have had people come in who did not realize you could not buy beer on Sunday that would turn around and leave. When that happens, you’re not losing just a couple of dollars in beer sales, but missing sales for chicken wings, burgers and other foods.”
For some establishments, the new law will allow them to open doors on Sundays for the first time and could sustain businesses that need the extra day.  
“We will be open this Sunday and I am very excited about it. It is one extra day of revenue for us,” said Brian Kelly, owner of Kbob Kelly’s. “It will be a big deal; and not just for us, but a lot of places in town.”
“A lot of (owners) have been operating businesses barely in the black or entirely in the red for much of the past three years,” he said. “I truly believe this will solidify the permanency of a lot of these establishments in Statesboro. I know for Kbob’s, assuming we do any amount of business on Sunday, it truly will mean the difference between the red and the black. I am very excited.”
Al Chapman, who owns Gnat’s Landing Bar and Grill, said the new rules will prompt him to once again open his business on Sundays and hopefully capitalize — if people take advantage of the opportunity.
“We will definitely be open and hope to generate a little more revenue,” he said.  “But we have to see if customers will show up or not. But, (Sunday sales) could definitely help.”
Chapman said Gnats will offer discounted food and special deals in an attempt to draw additional patrons. Kbob’s will do the same, according to Kelly.
When the clock strikes noon Sunday, every alcohol license holder in the city will be allowed to serve drinks.
Statesboro’s code of ordinances permits the right only to restaurants, who must generate at least 50 percent of sales from food. Currently, every establishment reports at least 50 percent of sales deriving from food.
The cut-off time for purchasing alcohol is set for 11 p.m. The time applies to all restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores.

Jeff Harrison can be reached at 912-489-9454

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