Minnesota ban on Sunday liquor sales may be lifted

Ban has been in place for more than 80 years

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) - A new bill could allow Minnesota liquor stores to be open on Sundays.

For 82 years, the Minnesota ban on Sunday liquor sales left many people traveling to Wisconsin to purchase liquor.

But just this week, in a 15-4 vote, the Minnesota House Commerce Committee passed a bill repealing the ban on Sunday sales.

While it is still up for debate in the legislature, one liquor store owner says he's still having his own internal debate.

Sixty-seven-year-old James Ruppert has been the owner of Fifth Street Liquor in Winona for 17 years.

In all his time of running the business, one thing was always guaranteed: he had Sundays off.

"If I had my choice I would not want to be open on a Sunday. Plain and simple," Ruppert said.

As a self-proclaimed, old-fashioned guy, Ruppert believes everyone should have Sundays off. But he says he won't dismiss the economic benefits Sunday sales could bring his store.

"It's getting worse and worse with what we're losing in revenue over to Wisconsin and I've decided that I really do think we should have Sunday opening in Minnesota," he said.

He says with lost revenue, being open on Sundays could add about five to ten percent in sales.

Winona residents say there are pluses and minuses to the potential change.

"The option should be there, for the liquor stores that want to be open, fine, if they prefer to be closed on Sundays they can always do that, but by banning it, the ones that would like to be open, can't be," said Micki Ball, a Winona resident.

Jim Borkowski, another Winona resident, thinks liquor stores should be closed on Sundays.

Ruppert said while Sundays are intended for anything but work, business is still a priority.  

"It would be beneficial to us because we would take the sales away from across the river."

Liquor store owners say in smaller towns and cities, the bill does have the potential to hurt businesses if labor expenses increase without the increase of sales.

If the bill gets passed, it would most likely go into effect July 1st of this year.     


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