Marion Liquor Stores Allowed To Sell On Sundays

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Andy Shofstall

MARION -- The Marion city council voted Monday night to allow packaged alcohol sales on Sundays. Several council members said the old rule, keeping liquor stores closed one day a week, was unfair to the businesses.

This ordinance change follows another back in June of 2008, when Marion allowed restaurants and Rent One Ballpark to serve beer and wine by the glass on Sundays. Council members say the latest adjustment is needed to make sure Marion liquor stores stay competitive with those just outside city limits.

For stores that make money strictly on selling alcohol, a city mandate that prohibits sales one day a week, throws a wrench into business. For Darren Holmes, who owns Bill's Liquor in Marion, the no-sales-on-Sunday rule wouldn't be so bad if there weren't two businesses right on the edge of town that did sell on Sunday.

"Either direction you go, east or west, I've got a liquor store in the county half to three-quarters a mile away, so obviously I was losing out on Sunday sales," says Holmes.

Eastway Liquors and Marion Bowl are the two shops just out of reach of the city ordinance.

"They've been surrounded by the city for many, many years, and they were just never annexed in to the city," explains Marion Finance Commissioner Anthony Rinella.

So Marion City Council members decided it was time to equal the playing field for its liquor stores.

"We need to allow our businesses to be as successful as they can possibly be and give them an opportunity to do that," Rinella says.

"It will greatly affect us and the city because obviously if we get to stay open on Sundays and sell alcohol on Sundays, then that's going to create more revenue and taxes for the city," explains Holmes.

Not everyone agrees with the decision. Council member Jay Rix voted against the Sunday sales. Rinella, however, says the ordinance change only gives businesses the choice; no one is required to open their doors.

"I really think it's up to the individual businesses. I mean, we have outfits close enough where we can drive to to get what we want, so why shouldn't we be able to do it in Marion? I mean, it's money coming into the coffers," says Marion resident Tony Avripas.

The stores have to wait ten days after the city publishes the ordinance change. Commissioner Rinella says the stores should be able to open by the last Sunday of the month.
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