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Westport Liquor Stores Not Ready for Sunday Sales

WESTPORT, Conn. – Liquor store owners in Westport aren’t popping open bottles of champagne to celebrate the new law that allows liquor sales on Sundays. Even though stores have the choice to be open, owners such as Harvey Skolnick say they are forced to be open, if they want to remain competitive.

“It is a big problem for us, but we’ve got to go along with it,” said Skolnick, owner of the recently relocated Liquor Locker at 411 Post Road E. “Being open six days a week already, we’ve just got to figure out who wants to give up a Sunday.”

Liquor Locker is among several Westport stores that plan to be open this coming Sunday. Under the new law, signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on Tuesday , stores can be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Skolnick said his store will probably be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nick Rossi, proprietor of Purple Feet Wine & Spirits at 275 Post Road E., said he also plans to be open Sunday. Rossi agreed staffing will be an issue, because he has only two employees, including himself.

Although Rossi isn’t thrilled about losing a day off, his primary concern is sales —and whether being open an extra day will boost revenue.

“I have a feeling this will benefit towns on the state border, but here, the demand probably isn’t going to be there for a while,” he said. “The holidays might be busy, but otherwise, it will probably just dilute Saturday sales.”

For now, Rossi said he will see how the public reacts. If there is a demand on Sundays, he said the store will remain open. If not, “we’ll play it by ear.”

Saugatuck Wine & Spirits, located at 9 Bridge Square, also plans to be open this and coming Sundays.

Not all stores are jumping at the opportunity to open this Sunday. International Wine Shop , 732 Post Road E., is not planning to open — for now.

“I’m not sure about it yet, but most likely not,” said John Damien, co-owner of International Wines. “But, if we see that our competition is open, we may be.”

Over at Black Bear Wines & Spirits , 221 Post Road W., manager Ethan Epstein said he is not sure whether the shop will be open this Sunday or what the future holds. Like Rossi, he said sales will likely remain the same, just spread out over seven days, instead of six.

He also said he doesn’t expect Sunday liquor sales to catch on.

“It’s been eight years since liquor stores changed from closing at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” he said. “But many people still don’t know that. So how many people do you think are really go to be buying liquor this Sunday? This is something that will need to be marketed, and we’d want time to do that.”

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