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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
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Greenwich Liquor Stores Disagree on Sunday Sales

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich's small liquor and wine stores are divided over Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's announcement that he intends to introduce legislation to allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays in Connecticut. Chris Berlingo of Glenville Wine & Spirits says he and his colleagues are wondering whether people would buy more alcohol.

"It could just end up being more out of our pocket with overhead and employees," said Berlingo. "Sunday is the biggest shopping day for people to go out, so it could benefit us. As far as how it will really impact, nobody knows yet."

The proposal would also eliminate minimum pricing, which Malloy says would lower costs for consumers. It would also allow the sale of alcohol on holidays and on Mondays that come after Sunday holidays.

Jim D'Onofrio, manager of Continental Fine Wines, says wine and liquor representatives have said prices may have to be raised. "If they do it, we'll have to offset the costs," he said. "We might not just open Sunday unless we're forced to. We'll see how it plays out for the most part before we make a decision."

Malloy said the goal is to keep Connecticut in line with neighboring states. He says Connecticut retailers lose $570 million in sales each year to surrounding states. The only state in the country that bans Sunday sales of alcohol is Indiana, Malloy said.

"I've always said there's nothing wrong with Sunday sales, especially when you're located at the border of New York and they're selling on that day," said Ilya Zatman of Bellmore Wine & Liquor. "Customers from my store tell me when they go to New York stores, they are very busy on Sunday."

Etinne Touzot of Le Wine Shop in Greenwich also said he hopes the proposal passes, because it would allow small stores such as his to compete with the New York stores. "Until you try it, you don't know," said Touzot. "I can understand other stores farther north won't care because customers won't drive two hours on Sunday just to get alcohol."

Connecticut voters said they support Sunday alcohol sales in liquor stores, 56 percent to 39 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll on March 18, 2010. Men said they supported Sunday sales 62 percent to 33 percent, and women supported it 50 percent vs. 46 percent.

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