HIGHLAND, Ind. – John Trelo remembers how big a drag buying booze in Indiana on a Sunday was before he moved to Florida 30 years ago.
You'd have to get up and be out the door well before noon to make the haul down Ridge Road just over the Indiana-Illinois border to Santori's in Lansing, Ill. There, three or four cashiers would take the money of resigned Indiana people who just wanted a beer with their potato chips during the game.
Sunday at noon, that dry era ended for Hoosiers. After decades of back-and-forth among legislators and lobbyists, Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1051 repealed on Wednesday the state's Prohibition-era ban on Sunday alcohol sales — save for cold beer — at liquor, grocery, drug and convenience stores.
Many liquor stores threw open their doors to customers for the first time since the 1920s, and customers like Trelo, in town to visit his parents in Highland, rejoiced. He carried his six-pack of Estrela Jalisco beer to the counter of Premier Liquors II in Highland with a sense of bemusement.
He said Sunday sales "are good for the state. It'll keep the money here."
While there wasn't a line of people clamoring for Crown Royal hours before noon, Premier saw a steady stream of customers once clerk Ruben Vela unlocked the door. James VanProoyen picked up a nine-pack of tall boys as his first Sunday booze purchase at 12:08 p.m.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," he said. "I don't think they should've banned [Sunday] alcohol sales in the first place."
Runs across the border were common for shoppers pre-Sunday sales, customers said. VanProoyen said he hit Lansing almost every Sunday prior.
"My schedule didn't always mean I was home to stock up on Saturday," he said.
Having to work a Sunday shift won't be a big deal, either, said Vela, who's been at the store 14 years. In fact, the law's passing was sort of serendipitous for Premier's owner, Eric Osan. "Eric was interviewing for new people, and then the law passed this week," Vela said.
Megan Reid shot a photo for social media of husband Anthony going into Premier. The two didn't really need anything but just wanted to commemorate the occasion with some double IPAs. "We'd head out to wherever almost every other weekend when we had people over," he said. "This is shorter to go to stock up, or when someone comes over and we're running short."