The owner of Mack’s Country Store on Georgia Highway 88 said he’s losing $1,500 to $2,000 each Sunday to the competition only a mile and a half away.
Because customers want to buy their gas, cigarettes, beer, wine and other items at one time, they’ve been 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,” Rose said. “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.”
On July 31, the residents of Blythe can vote to authorize the governing authority of the city “to permit and regulate package sales by retailers of malt beverages, wine and distilled spirits on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.”
Blythe did not vote on Sunday alcohol sales with the rest of Richmond County during the March 6 Super Tuesday primary, said Lynn Bailey, the director of the Richmond County Board of Elections, because it is a separate city.
“For Sunday alcohol sales, they have to authorize it themselves as a municipality,” she said.
Blythe has a population of 721, according to the 2010 Census. The city has 410 registered voters, Bailey said.
Loriann Chancey, the city clerk for Blythe, said the city council voted May 14 to place the referendum on the ballot after Rose approached the mayor and city council during a meeting.
“He requested that they consider adding that to the ballot and let the citizens decide whether or not they wanted Sunday sales,” Chancey said. “He said that naturally since the county had passed Sunday sales that it was hurting his business on Sundays.”
Sunday alcohol sales weren’t placed on a previous ballot because the topic hadn’t been taken to the city council’s attention, she said.
The only business owner in Blythe, Rose runs a gas station, a convenience store, a restaurant, a coin laundry, a car wash and a liquor store in one complex. If Sunday package sales are approved, Rose said, he will only sell beer and wine from his convenience store; he will not open his liquor store on Sunday.
In Hephzibah, which is also a separate municipality, Sunday alcohol sales are not on the July 31 ballot, and there is no discussion about the issue at this point, said Martha Allen, the city’s clerk.