OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — After a 2-1 vote by the Oklahoma County Commissioners, Sunday liquor store sales will now be up to a vote of the people.
“My family and I have lunch at the Garage there on a Sunday afternoon, and you see several people come up and try to door,” Dale Blackburn, owner of Grand Cru Wine and Spirits near Britton and May, said.
Blackburn said ever since Oklahomans approved a measure modernizing Oklahoma’s liquor laws, some of his customers have been confused, thinking he can now be open on Sundays. He said it’s been frustrating.
“We would just like for the opportunity to sell people wanting to buy wine and beer and liquor on Sundays. They’re out there buying it. We’d like to be a part of that,” he said.
That’s one reason why Commissioner Kevin Calvey and Commissioner Carrie Blumert voted to give liquor stores a chance at Sunday sales.
“Walmart, grocery stores and convenience stores are now allowed to sell wine on Sundays,” Calvey said. “So, this just kind of evens the playing field in terms of different vendors for that.”
“I felt that it was not fair to liquor store owners where they couldn’t sell wine and beer on Sundays and the Walmart next door could,” Blumert said. “So for me, this was a small business issue.”
Commissioner Brian Maughan said there are several reasons why he decided to vote no.
“I’ve just suffered a loss in our office from somebody who was killed by an addiction,” Maughan said. “It hits home for me.”
Maughan also pointed to the cost.
“There’s going to be a cost to the election that, you know, we’ll have to find in our budget just to put it on the ballot,” Maughan said.
Maughan also said he received some calls from liquor store owners who don’t want to be open on Sundays but feel they’ll have to if voters approve Sunday liquor sales in order to compete with other stores.
Ultimately, the 2-1 vote by the commissioners is sending the issue to the March 3rd, 2020 ballot.
“Tulsa County took the lead. They passed their resolution a couple weeks ago and it will also be on the March 3rd ballot,” Blumert said. “We wanted to be in line with Tulsa and then, I think Cleveland County passed their’s recently as well.
Blackburn said he’s hoping this becomes a trend in other counties around the state because he said for small business owners like himself, every dollar counts.
“Thank you very much to Kevin and Carrie for helping get it to this point,” said Blackburn.”I think it’ll be a good thing for the county.”