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Getting in the spirit: Sunday liquor sales come to Colorado

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By AJ Vicens

Teresa Teaff walked down the aisle Sunday at Tipsy’s Liquor World browsing bottles of wine from the southern region of France. Sunday spirit shopping was a welcome experience for the Tennessee resident, who was in town on business. Buying liquor on a Sunday was also a welcome experience for many Coloradans.

July 6 was the first Sunday that Colorado liquor stores have been open since before Prohibition. Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill in April repealing the state’s blue law, joining 34 other states with Sunday liquor sales.

“Well, I’m a Southern gal,” Teaff said with a smile. “So I’m accustomed to the blue laws, when liquor is sold when the church isn’t open.”

Teaff said that even though she’s from the Bible Belt, she’s not opposed to the selling of liquor on Sundays.

“It’s a little odd,” Teaff said. “Do I think it’s wrong? No. I don’t think it makes a difference. You could buy enough on Friday or Saturday to last you through Sunday, so what’s the difference?”

The manager on duty July 6 at Tipsy’s said business had been steady all day, and she thought some of her customers had been looking forward to the freedom to shop for adult beverages on Sundays.

“I think there was a lot of anticipation about the day,” said Tina Lebek. “There were a couple of people that came in right when the doors open, excited about buying beer on Sunday.”

Lebek also had a gender-based observation.

“It’s mostly men,” Lebek said with a laugh. “I think men are more excited than women.”

Lebek said she wasn’t sure if being open Sundays would thin out Saturday sales. Lebek noted that the liquor giant at West Bowles Avenue and C-470 will be open regular hours, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Sundays.

Ken and Bonne Gavin, also in Tipsy’s July 6, were buying beer and wine on their way home from the mountains. Ken Gavin said he grew up in Chicago, so buying liquor on Sundays isn’t new for him.

“It worked there,” Ken Gavin said. “And it still works.”

Ken Gavin said he and his wife have lived in other cities, including Philadelphia, where Sunday liquor sales were allowed, and he didn’t notice any problems. Bonnie Gavin said that there’s no reason liquor sales should be outlawed on Sundays.

“People do a lot of stuff on the weekends,” Bonnie Gavin said.

“There’s only two days to do things during the week,” Ken Gavin added, noting that the couple are often too busy during the workweek to stock up when they want to relax with some spirits on the weekend. He guessed that the rush of some people to the liquor stores to stock up on Friday and Saturday nights might be alleviated. Bonnie Gavin also guessed that Saturday liquor sales might decline.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Bonnie Gavin said. “I don’t know why Colorado has waited so long.”

Terri Ryan, manning the counter Sunday at the empty Hi Hopes Liquor on West Coal Mine Avenue, said being open Sundays is a mixed bag.

“In the ‘pro’ column, it’s possible extra revenue for the liquor store,” Ryan said. “On the ‘con’ side, everybody needs a family day, and Sunday is my family day.” Ryan doesn’t feel it was necessary to open the stores on Sundays. She agreed with the Tipsy’s manager that it would take a few weeks to see if being open Sundays will not only cover the added costs of having the store open and paying extra salary, but also be profitable.

“It’ll take three to four weeks for things to gel,” Ryan said.

She did note that there was someone waiting for her when she opened the store Sunday, and that people like to be fully provisioned when spending time outdoors on Sundays.

“For them, it’s a good thing,” Ryan said.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.