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Austin stores against Sunday liquor sales

A trio of Austin liquor store owners oppose a Senate bill allowing liquor stores to be open on Sundays, which cleared a single committee Wednesday and headed to another committee for a vote.

Their views were mirrored by Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, who voted against the bill to allow liquor sales 365 days a year. Sparks voted no Wednesday on the bill that passed 8-7 in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection. The next stop for the bill is the Senate Finance Committee.

Peggy Struthers, manager of the Beer Depot; Stephen Echert, manager of the Austin Liquor Store; and Dave Olson, of Apollo Liquors and Superette, said they are against the bill allowing liquor sales on Sundays.

"I just think that if people are going to buy alcohol on Sunday, they’re not going to buy it on Saturday or Monday," Struthers said.

All three are worried about the extra money they will potentially lose by having to pay employees to work on Sundays, and then not make enough money in sales to make up the difference.


"I think it's just really stupid," Echert said.

Olson was at the state Capitol on Wednesday and had lunch with Sparks. The liquor sales bill was one of the things they discussed.

"I think it'll just dilute the sales from the six days we are open into seven days and just cost me more money, more labor to stay open for seven days," Olson said.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, and Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona.

A similar measure is being considered in the House. Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, is a co-sponsor of that bill.

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