July 1, 2012
Sunday, July 1, a slew of new state laws went into effect including one which allows all ABC stores in Virginia to be open on Sundays.
In the past, only stores located in areas where the population was more than 100,000 people were allowed open seven days a week. Starting at 1 p.m. on July 1, hundreds of new ABC stores opened their doors. For many stores, like the one located on Barrack's Road, it was the first time.
"There was a line out the door at one o'clock when they opened the store," said Maureen Haney, a spokeswoman for ABC.
"It's awesome, you always wonder if you are going to get to the liquor store by 9pm on a Saturday night, but now if you don't, you can go in on a Sunday to stock up for a week," said John Embrey, a Charlottesville resident.
It's not just the customers, as many are hoping Sunday sales will help the state cash in. ABC is expecting to bring in $2.5 million more in taxes alone over the next four years. Those inside the Charlottesville store say they are off to a good start.
"I don't know if it's the novelty of it being the first Sunday, but hopefully this is filling a customer need," said Haney.
While many customers are excited, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. Some members of the Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church say it sends the wrong message.
"I really don't agree with that, I think Sunday should not, be the day that you are going to go get alcohol," said Letitia Curry, a Charlottesville resident. "In the scripture, it says you shouldn't get drunk, but that's just an extra day to have alcohol in your life."
If there is enough backlash some stores could stay closed.
"Anytime a community in a certain area objects to the Sunday opening, yes we will make a determination," said Ron Rosario, Regional Manager of ABC stores.
In six months, ABC officials will look at the Sunday sales of all Virginia stores. Those that did not make enough sales, will go back to staying closed on Sundays. For now, all ABC stores will stay open in the Commonwealth from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.