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Grovetown stores expect alcohol sales to drop

Posted: March 31, 2012 - 11:00pm
Melissa Gheesling, an employee at the Circle K in Grovetown, has had to keep more beer in stock to keep up with Sunday sales demand.
Melissa Gheesling, an employee at the Circle K in Grovetown, has had to keep more beer in stock to keep up with Sunday sales demand.

For months, Lee Griffin maneuvered through the maze of beer cases stacked inside the Grovetown Circle K store she manages.

Since Dec. 25, the city has been the only local place other than the city of Aiken to buy packaged alcohol on Sundays.

“We do extremely well on Sundays,” Griffin said. “We don’t have room to move because I have beer in my office. I have beer in the cooler. I have beer in the hallway. There’s beer everywhere.”

But starting today, Grovetown no longer is the only location this side of the Savannah River where people can buy alcohol.

Licensed businesses in Augusta can begin selling packaged alcohol today after residents recently approved a referendum allowing grocery, convenience and package stores to sell from 12:30-11:30 p.m. on Sundays

That’s not necessarily bad news, Griffin said, adding she and her staff sometimes feel overwhelmed.

“Hopefully, this week it’ll stop because Augusta will be selling it,” she said. “We do expect it to decrease. Hopefully, it will.”

Grovetown officials approved the sale of packaged alcohol on Sunday late last year. Beginning Dec. 11, customers lined up to make their purchases.

Mayor George James said the Sunday sales attracts lots of people from outside the city as well as adding convenience for residents.

“We never expected it to be like (this),” James said. “I would imagine it is going to ease up on the amount of sales they are having right now. And if Columbia County (and Harlem) follow suit, I’m sure it will just kind of get back to normal.”

Pinky Patel, owner of A & S Market on East Robinson Avenue, said since the beginning of the year Sunday alcohol sales have been steady.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen after Richmond (County) starts (selling),” Patel said. “I’m sure it will (decrease).”

Columbia County and Harlem residents will vote on the referendum on the July 31 primary ballot. If approved, Harlem could begin Sunday sales as early as Aug. 22.

Columbia County officials have said if the referendum passes, they plan to begin Sunday sales on Labor Day weekend.

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