ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minneapolis liquor store opens Sunday, well ahead of official change to liquor law

At first, the e-mails seemed like a joke, or a misprint. Surdyk's the family-owned liquor store in northeast Minneapolis, issued an e-mail blast Sunday morning saying "Open Today," followed by a short message that the store and its adjoining chee...

3219644+beeratagrocerystoreinnewyorkcity.jpg

At first, the e-mails seemed like a joke, or a misprint.

Surdyk’s the family-owned liquor store in northeast Minneapolis, issued an e-mail blast Sunday morning saying “Open Today,” followed by a short message that the store and its adjoining cheese shop were to open this Sunday, March 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wait a minute. Yes, the 150-year old ban on Sunday liquor sales was lifted by the Minnesota Legislature, and the bill was signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, but the announced first day of legal sales was to be Sunday, July 2, four months from now.
“We just decided to open up,” said Jim Surdyk, owner and president of the business. “We’re here, we’re busy, it’s great. People are happy to be here.”
Though Surdyk said he was “in the middle on the new law,” he decided that since it was approved, why wait?
“The governor signed the bill, everyone wants the bill, they voted for it, why not be in business?” Surdyk said by phone from the store on Sunday.
“Why send our tax to money to Wisconsin, when we can do the business ourselves?”
Surdyk did not consult with any authorities before opting to open his store. It was a decision that he claimed was in line with his family’s tradition, dating to a 50-year-old state law that permitted stores to offer discounts on liquor for the first time.
“My father was the first one to discount liquor way back in the 1960s, and he didn’t wait till July to do it,” Surdyk said.
Shortly after noon, Surdyk got a call from a Minneapolis licensing official, not named, who advised him to shut the store down and wait until July 2. He was not certain if he would comply with that request.
Some stores opposing Sunday sales said it was hard on employees, and Surdyk agreed, up to a point.
“It’s tough to get help,” he said, adding that he needed to schedule about 10 people for the liquor store and few others for the adjoining cheese shop, which had not previously been open Sundays, even though no liquor is sold there.
“People who are not used to working Sundays would rather have the day off. But people will get used to it. I just hope in the future, a lot of people will do shopping on Sunday. We have to wait and see.”
While he noted some other liquor retailers grumbling on Twitter about his decision to open early, Surdyk said he had not heard of any other stores doing the same.
The new law doesn’t require liquor stores to remain open on Sunday, and some may opt to remain closed.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.