Grovetown became the only place in Columbia and Richmond counties to purchase alcohol on Sundays on Dec. 11 after approval of a referendum during the November elections. Stores say Super Bowl shoppers made Sunday sales even more popular then they’ve been in the past two months.
“It’s a madhouse. Absolute madhouse,” said Chris Smith, an employee at GT Package Shop on Wrightsboro Road.
Ten people were waiting at the door when the store opened at 12:30 p.m. Three hours later, the store was running low on its stock and sold out of Bud Light and Corona, Smith said. Empty boxes from Saturday night and Sunday were stacked nearly 5 feet tall outside the storefront Sunday afternoon.
GT Package Shop owner Peter Lee said he prepared for a busy day, but Super Bowl Sunday exceeded expectations.
“As far as revenue, it could be an all-time high,” Lee said.
Matthew Eidson, of Augusta, didn’t need to run out on Saturday night to buy beer when he made plans to watch the game at a friend’s house in Grovetown. He picked up two six-packs at GT Package Shop on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s nice to know it’s here,” Eidson said.
Sunday sales became possible last year after a change in Georgia state law allowing voters in cities and counties to decide whether to allow Sunday package sales between 12:30 and 11:30 p.m.
Richmond County officials plan to place a referendum for retail sales of beer, wine and spirits on the Super Tuesday Presidential Preference Primary ballots March 6. If approved in Richmond County, Sunday sales could be possible as soon as April 1.
Columbia County residents should have their chance to vote on July 31, with sales beginning Labor Day weekend if approved.
Grovetown Mayor George James said the popularity of Sunday sales has been a “total surprise and total shock” to him.
The small city has not tracked tax revenue from Sunday sales. City Administrator Shirley Beasley said the only way to measure sales would be delivery reports from alcohol distributors, which could be available in two more months.
Billy Jack’s Party Shop ordered extra supplies of beer and liquor for Super Bowl Sunday. Three clerks waited on customers, compared to a normal two on a Sunday afternoon.
“Booming,” said employee Teresa Pritchett about Sunday’s business. “Everybody’s coming out to make sure they have everything they need for the Super Bowl.”
Angel Wallace, the owner of Billy Jack’s, declined to provide revenue numbers from Sunday sales but said the store is averaging a few hundred dollars more on recent Sundays compared to weekdays.