CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
New Year's Sunday beer sales brisk
By Jane Hill
Business was steady and relaxed on the Front Porch, but busy and brisk in the Fast Lane Sunday when residents and visitors to the city were permitted to buy beer at local convenience store or order wine with their restaurant meal.
The city's prohibition on beer and liquor sales was lifted for a day because New Year's Eve happened to fall on a Sunday this year.
A special regulation of the Alcoholic Beverage Control division of the State Tax Commission, mixed with state law, permits the sale of the normally prohibited beverages unless the local governing body requested a ban on the sale in September.
The ABC regulation applied Sunday only to on-premises liquor-by-the-drink outlets such as restaurants. Liquor package stores remained closed.
A related state law also permitted the sale of beer, both on-premises and at package outlets such as grocery stores and convenience stores.
Betsy Wells, an employee at the Fast Lane convenience store at Crosstown in Tupelo, said she thought Tupelo's convenience stores would get double coverage in the early evening hours because of the permitted beer sales.
"A lot of people didn't know about it," Wells said. "We've gotten calls all day from people wanting to know if they could buy it and when."
The liquor and wine sales were permitted from 1 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. today, extending the ordinary sale limits by one hour because of the New Year's holiday.
Brenda Fowler, manager at Food World in Tupelo, said sales of beer at the grocery store had been very brisk all day.
"Sales are going great," Fowler said. "In every checkout almost someone is buying beer."
At other outlets, however, business was not unusually heavy.
"It's been like a normal day," said Cheryl Coppedge, an employee of the Uncle Joe's convenience store on West Main Street. "We're hoping business will pick up tonight."
Curtis Frensley, a manager at the Front Porch Restaurant on Cliff Gookin Boulevard, said beer and wine sales in the restaurant and at the bar had been rather slow Sunday. He added that he expected that to change as the evening wore on.
"We are not ordinarily open on Sunday's so it is difficult to judge," he said.
Bill Kapenekas at Vanelli's on North Gloster Street in Tupelo, said his business is ordinarily open on Sundays and he had noticed an increase in the number of football fans coming to the restaurant to watch the games because of the permitted beer sales.
"Predominately, it has been the purchases of beer that are way up," Kapenekas said. "Several people from out of town have ordered wine with their meals and it has been pleasant to be able to serve it."