For southeastern Connecticut package store owners and employees, Sunday is often their only day off. It’s a day to spend time with family and friends, a day to catch up on household chores, and it’s also a day they lose business.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to stop that lost revenue by to, among other things, allow package, grocery and convenience stores to sell alcohol on Sundays.
According to the governor, Connecticut liquor stores lose approximately $570 million annually in revenue to neighboring states, including Rhode Island, where thirsty customers can cross the state line to buy their booze on Sundays.
But package store owners in southeastern Connecticut are divided over the governor’s proposal. Some support Sunday sales, while others worry about losing family time.
Hilltop Wine and Spirits owner Sanjay Vachhani said he already works six days a week, and would feel forced to open on Sundays if the state lifts the ban on Sunday alcohol sales.
“My son would never see me; I’d get a divorce from my wife,” the Groton package store owner said.
While Vachhani doesn’t support the governor’s proposal, other package store owners support parts of the governor’s plan to move the state away from its puritanical roots.
Gary Trombley Jr., owns Big Gary’s Montville Wine & Spirits, and wants to be able to open on Sundays.
“Sunday sales would help my business—it would increase sales,” Trombley said. “I have eight employees and they are willing to work on Sundays.”
Trombley, however, does not support the governor’s proposal for package stores to stay open until 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., and he is against easing some of the restrictions on grocery stores.
“The grocery stores don’t play by the same rules,” Trombley said, adding that when issued an infraction, a package store closes its entire business for three days but grocery stores only close the beer sales for three days.
“That’s not fair,” Trombley said.
While Big Gary’s would open on Sundays if allowed, Trombley said that Sunday sales would benefit him because of his shop location, and his medium-size store. He does not believe that Sunday sales would benefit everyone.
The governor’s proposal does not require package stores to open on Sundays it only allows them to open.
Kevin Wildes, owner of in Mystic does not know if he would open on Sunday if the proposal passes.
“I haven’t decided if we would stay open,” Wildes said. “I guess we’d have to see.”
Wildes, though, said he would never support lifting the ban on Sunday alcohol sales.
“I like the day off,” Wildes said. “It’s my time to spend with my family.”
The Connecticut state legislature must pass Malloy’s proposal for Sunday alcohol sales to be a reality.