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Sunday alcohol proves popular to many in Augusta area

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second installment of a 10-part series on the top stories of 2012.

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Billy Jack's Party Shop customer Nathan Deloach of Augusta gets a six pack of beer Sunday, Feb. 26, at the store in Grovetown. Voters across the area approved the sale of alcohol on Sundays.  CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
Billy Jack's Party Shop customer Nathan Deloach of Augusta gets a six pack of beer Sunday, Feb. 26, at the store in Grovetown. Voters across the area approved the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

Blue laws took a beating this year as more area municipalities joined the growing number allowing Sunday alcohol sales.

On Super Tuesday in March, Augusta voters approved a referendum that made Augusta-Richmond County the largest jurisdiction in the area to allow Sunday packaged alcohol sales. The vote wasn’t close; about 58 percent voted to approve the measure.

Similar scenarios played out in Blythe, Harlem, the unincorporated areas of Columbia County, North Augusta and Burke County.

It wasn’t without some controversy, as some officials bemoaned the change.

“I hate to see people leaving the church on Sunday and their first stop is the liquor store,” said Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett, who voted against the licensing required to allow Sunday packaged alcohol sales to begin April 1 with no additional fee for retailers.

After the dominoes began to fall, many municipalities had to keep pace to so they wouldn’t lose revenue to their neighbors. Grovetown voters had gotten the ball rolling in late 2011 when they OK’d Sunday sales. Aiken passed a Sunday alcohol sales ordinance for retail beer and wine the same year.

The Aiken Hospitality Group estimated that the Sunday alcohol sales ordinance could generate up to $91,500 in revenue for Aiken this year.

For some business owners, allowing Sunday alcohol sales was a no-brainer.

The owner of Mack’s Country Store on Georgia Highway 88 in Blythe said he was losing $1,500 to $2,000 each Sunday to the competition a mile and a half away.

Because customers want to buy their gas, cigarettes, beer, wine and other items at one time, they were taking their business to the nearby Citgo station, which lies outside the Blythe city limits in Richmond County and can sell alcohol on Sundays.

“It would mean a whole lot for my business. I need it approved,” Jim Rose said earlier in the year, before Blythe voters passed the ordinance in July. “Good customers of mine tell me that is exactly what they’re doing on Sundays. I hope that the people in the city of Blythe will understand and vote yes when it comes time to vote it in.”


Through the end of the year, we look back on the big stories of 2012:

AIMEE COPELAND: The Georgia graduate student fought a life-threatening infection at Joseph M. Still Burn Center that took her leg, right foot and her hands. Saturday

SUNDAY SALES: Measures allowing the sale of packaged alcohol on Sundays were approved in several areas, including Augusta-Richmond County. Today

PLANT VOGTLE: The expansion of the nuclear power plant became official, and work on the new reactors accelerated rapidly. Monday

NEW U: The consolidation of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities brought angst, anger and, eventually, compromise. Tuesday

SHERIFF’S RACE: Richard Roundtree made history in November when he was elected the first black sheriff of Richmond County. Wednesday

AUGUSTA YDC: A year of turmoil saw the escape of five youths, investigations by the Department of Juvenile Justice and staff firings. Thursday

PAINE PROBLEMS: Claims of financial mismanagement embroiled Augusta’s historic college and led to sanctions from the accrediting body. Friday

FIRST FRIDAY: The July 6 shooting of six people on Broad Street threatened the festival’s survival and revived concerns about downtown safety. Saturday

NORTH AUGUSTA STADIUM: North Augusta announced plans for a riverfront development that includes a baseball stadium on the same day the Augusta GreenJackets said Cal Ripken Jr. had sold the team to local investors. Dec. 30

PARKING DECK: After a year of controversy, a parking deck was approved for the city’s new convention center. Dec. 31

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rmwhitley 12/22/12 - 06:38 pm
I don't drink

but I understand the reason for the success of Sunday alcohol sales; democrats are so drunk with unrestricted power that the average person must cope with their (parasitic lefties) INSANITY in some manner.

oldredneckman96 12/22/12 - 11:33 pm
Sunday Sales

I still drive to Georgia from SC to eat, even on Sunday. You can not eat in most resturants in SC because they let every butt head in there smoke like it is the last day of thier life, and it stinks to high heaven.

Techfan 12/23/12 - 09:30 am
"Sunday alcohol proves

"Sunday alcohol proves popular to many in Augusta area" Ya think?

nanowerx 12/23/12 - 11:08 am
Ending of intolerance, finally!

I am so glad these blue laws are being sent out to pasture. Too long have we been inconvenienced because of religious driven laws. Nothing against religion, but it should never dictate laws. So happy that counties across Georgia have spoken an spoken loud. If it is going to be legal, there should not be some special day when you are forbidden to buy!

soapy_725 12/23/12 - 11:32 am
Alcohol is popular. What a revelation (-:

So popular that we sacrifice human lives to it like a "god". Hail to the great "spirits". Thou brings joy and laughter to my life. Thou puts to rest all my fears. Thou makesth me to be very popular. Thou makest me bullet proof. Thou consoulieth my soul. Thou improveth my hearing and vision. Thou sharpeneth my reflexes. Thou makest me more romantic and gives increased stamina.

itsanotherday1 12/23/12 - 11:38 am
And the congregation said AMEN nanowerx!

Blue laws have always been emotion driven (like gun control), instead of logic driven.

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