Hoosiers on Sunday sales: ‘It’s nice that Prohibition has finally ended’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Governor Eric Holcomb waited patiently at the counter of Goose the Market on N. Delaware St. for the clock to strike noon Sunday.

The governor had just emerged from the basement of the north side market that has a wine cellar and beer racks down below. He was carrying three six packs of 3 Floyds Gumball Head from Munster and some pork chops his wife sent him to pick up for dinner so the first couple could celebrate the end of the state’s ban on Sunday liquor sales 85 years after most of the nation adopted all the alcohol-buying rights it could with the passage of the 21st Amendment.

“Burger, beans, beer, bravo Indiana,” said the governor minutes after Senate Bill 1 officially went into effect at 12:00 p.m. and he paid for his purchase. “I have already heard comments today, ‘Thanks for joining the 21st century.’ For Indiana this was always about the consumer.”

Despite Holcomb’s proclamation, the epic longtime battle over Indiana’s Sunday alcohol sales pitted the well-entrenched liquor store industry versus large grocery and drug store chains. Specialty stores feared losing weekday customers and paying another day’s labor costs while the competition saw consumer convenience and a chance to add a high markup item to shopper’s carts seven days a week.

“For a lot of Hoosiers Sunday is the day to shop,” said the governor, “and so why would you say you can shop for some things but not on all the aisles?”

Goose the Market owner Chris Eley didn’t mind the increased Sunday payroll compared to the additional sales he expected to ring up.

“If you only can sell 70% of your inventory and now you can sell 100% of it 7 days a week, then its definitely gonna be different,” he said. “People will be more apt to do more of their shopping on Sundays. I think some people may have planned more of their shopping on Saturdays just because they could get everything they need instead of multiple trips. I think this way they can do it without making multiple trips to maybe even out there shopping a little bit.”

A few feet away, seated at a wooden picnic table, Cindy Lucchese enjoyed an Italian sandwich lunch and a cold bottle of wine with her husband.

“We do a lot of cooking, have a lot of family and friends over and if you didn’t remember to pick up a bottle of wine and everyone’s coming over for Sunday dinner, you’re just out of luck. So it just makes all the sense in the world,” she said. “I think it makes it so you don’t have to think about it and think, ‘Oh, my gosh, I gotta run to the store today because I expect people over.”

At Big Red Liquors on Broad Ripple Ave. the hours on the door still read, “Closed Sundays,” while a neon “OPEN” sign blazed in the window and the customer line reached twenty deep with a twenty minute wait to the cash register.

“Its Sunday and we can finally buy beer here in Indiana, so why not,” said Tyler Banks, “because its symbolic. We have not been able to do this in Indiana since I’ve been alive so it means something.

“Its nice that Prohibition has finally ended.”

Indiana was the last state to ban Sunday beer and wine sales though several states still prohibit the purchase of liquor on the seventh day.

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