Colorado supermarkets, liquor stores fight over beer and wine sales |

Colorado supermarkets, liquor stores fight over beer and wine sales

Colleen SlevinThe Associated PressAspen, CO Colorado

DENVER A proposal to allow liquor stores to remain open on Sunday cleared its first hurdle at the state Capitol on Wednesday despite protests from the owners of some small liquor stores, who said Sunday was the only time they had to spend time with their families.The Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee approved the measure (Senate Bill 82) and sent it to another committee for review.Lawmakers rejected the same proposal three years ago in the face of opposition from liquor stores. This time the owners of some larger stores and the Korean Liquor Retail Association are backing Sunday sales (Senate Bill 82) because of concern supermarkets may get the right to sell beer and wine.Supermarkets are now only able to sell beer with 3.2 percent alcohol, but are pushing a proposal (Senate Bill 149) which would let them set aside about one aisle to sell regular beer and wine Monday through Saturday. Convenience stores would also be able to set aside about 5 percent of their space to selling beer and wine under the bill, which was set to be considered by another committee later Wednesday.Dawit Beyere, an Ethiopian immigrant who owns a liquor store in Denver, said he would have to stay open on Sundays if the law is changed in order to keep his customers. He said that would cut into the time he spends with his four children as well as volunteering at his church.”I don’t want to lose my kids seven days a week because I’m not there when they’re growing,” said Beyere, who runs the store with his wife in addition to taking business classes at a community college.If liquor stores are allowed to open on Sunday, he fears supermarkets would still want to sell beer and wine because their 3.2 beer business would dry up.California transplant Jeff Lim said many immigrants like him moved to Colorado from other states to open stores because they know they will have Sunday off and because they can’t sell food, which simplifies the business.Lim, who is originally from Korea, fought the Sunday sales bill three years ago, bringing a petition signed by 3,000 people opposing it. Since then, Lim said more Coloradans seem more interested in changing the law and he said he’ll support what the people of the state want even if he’s not excited about it.”It’s a democratic country. The majority rules,” said Lim, who owns a store in Denver.There are now 34 states that allow liquor sales on Sunday, including a dozen that changed their laws in the past six years. Analysts estimate that Sunday sales could bring Colorado an extra $4 million in taxes in the first year.

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