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Minn. lawmakers try to remove ban on Sunday alcohol sales

Minn. lawmakers try to remove ban on Sunday alcohol sales

WINONA, LA CRESENT, Minn. (WKBT) - Minnesota is trying to remove a longtime ban on alcohol sales on Sunday. Lawmakers have introduced seven different bills to either phase out or remove the ban completely.

The Minnesota Legislature has been voting down these bills for decades. Last year, a bill was rejected 102-21. One senator backing these bills said there is more momentum this year than ever before.

Towns that border Wisconsin, like La Cresent and Winona, say being open Sunday would put them on an even playing field with their competition across the border.

Local liquor store owners say if a bill passes, they'll open up on Sundays.

"I would go for it," Ken Siebenaler, owner of 3rd Street Liquor in Winona, said.

"Having it open an extra day is a bonus for the customer and the retailer," George Williams, owner of Apple Village Liquor in La Cresent, said.

Store owners in Winona and La Cresent say on Sundays they're losing business to Wisconsin stores that are open.

"I think it would be, because if you go across the river on a Sunday or even a holiday, I mean, it's packed over there," Siebenaler said.

Minnesota is one of only 12 states that don't allow alcohol sales on Sundays. Critics of the idea said being open Sunday wouldn't make a difference. It would just take six business days and spread it over seven. The owner of 3rd Street Liquor thinks differently.

"I mean, Sunday morning would be just like Friday or Saturday morning. You've got the fisherman, the boaters, the campers, they want to get their supplies and get to the campground or on the river," Siebenaler said.

The Apple Village Liquor owner said there's nothing saying the idea won't work.

"I could see if there was 'we used to be open on Sundays and we closed because there was a problem and now we're opening it again,' but because there's no track record, how do they know they're going to be losing money or not?" Williams said.

Both owners acknowledge that there is probably going to be more support from border towns like their own, but say other areas don't realize the impact.

"I don't think people really realize how much revenue we're losing across the river," Siebenaler said.

News 8 reached out to stores in Wisconsin such as Kwik Trip and Festival. Kwik Trip officials said they're not worried. They feel they won't be affected much if a bill were to pass allowing liquor sales on Sundays in Minnesota.

One of the seven bills proposed would ban alcohol sales on Saturday and another would give individual communities the option to decide if alcohol should be sold on Sunday. Gov. Mark Dayton has said that he would sign a bill if one was agreed upon.

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