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Maguire’s opinion coincides with how the public generally feels about the issue. Last summer, 59 percent of Minnesotans polled by Public Policy Polling were in favor of legalizing Sunday sales, with 29 percent opposed.
And Andrew Schmitt, director of the Minnesota Beer Activists, a Twin Cities group that has focused its energy this session on supporting Sunday sales, noted that 38 other states already allow it.
“Clearly, it works in every other province and state around us,” he said.
Schmitt said that if Sunday sales were legal, stores could opt out of being open that day.
But many liquor stores think that’s unrealistic.
“If they passed it, we’d pretty much have to be open on Sunday” to match competitors’ hours, said Jim Linnihan, manager of Red Lion Liquors in Burnsville.
Linnihan said he doesn’t like the Super Bowl idea, calling it “a slippery slope” to legalizing Sunday sales generally.
Don Wells, a clerk at Farmington Liquors, agreed. “Once you open on one Sunday, then why not be open on all Sundays?” he said. “You don’t need to buy booze every day. You can plan ahead.”
Garofalo, however, said his bill has gained support on “both sides of the aisle.”
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive back in the district. Both supporters and opponents of Sunday liquor sales like the idea of trying it out,” he said.
But he wouldn’t adopt a pro-Sunday-sales position until he saw the results of the Super Bowl Sunday experiment, he said.
Garofalo said his previous votes against Sunday sales were based on liquor store advocates’ beliefs that another day of overhead costs would end up raising alcohol prices for consumers.
Some people in the liquor industry said the Super Bowl idea doesn’t sound all bad.
“I don’t have a problem with that at all. If there’s one day you’re going to do a crapload of business, it would be that Sunday,” said Fannin.
Erin Adler • 962-746-3283