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Ohio passes earlier hours for Sunday liquor sales

Local businesses petition for further revisions

By Erin Fischesser
On October 23, 2009

  • The state budget includes a condition for restaurants to begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m. Sundays instead of 1 p.m. The Ohio Restaurant Association said it hopes this stipulation will contribute to more competition.

Ohio restaurants are now able to sell liquor beginning at 11 a.m. Sundays due to a stipulation in the recently passed state budget, but two local businesses are petitioning for further revisions on the ballot in November.

Indian Creek Tavern in Reily and the Oxford Wal-Mart are petitioning for the ability to sell liquor from 10 a.m. Sunday until midnight.

Previously, restaurants were restricted to selling liquor after 1 p.m. Sundays while other businesses, such as stadiums and shopping centers, could serve alcohol earlier.

According to Mark Glasper, spokesperson for the Ohio Restaurant Association, the change will allow restaurants to be more competitive in alcohol sales.

"Being on that level playing field (restaurants) can compete better with other businesses that could offer (alcohol before 1 p.m.)," Glasper said.

Glasper said he believes the change will also benefit restaurant owners dealing with the current economic situation and said his organization was a strong proponent of the revision.

"This is especially important in the poor economy we are having right now because our members are suffering," Glasper said.

Butler County Board of Elections Administrative Assistant Tippi Slaughter, who has been an employee for many years, said petitions about liquor sales are common and often successful in general elections.

"In the time I've worked here I've seen most passed," Slaughter said. "In fact, I haven't seen any fail."

Slaughter said she was not surprised by Wal-Mart's petition because large chain stores commonly apply for these changes. She also said Indian Creek Tavern attempted to file a similar petition last year but did not have enough signatures.

A manager at Indian Creek Tavern who refused to provide his name said the petition was filed after the law was changed. The change in Sunday liquor sales laws did not affect the business's decision to leave its petition on the ballot.

"It had nothing to do with the law," he said. "I didn't even know the law actually changed."

The Indian Creek manager said that gaining a longer sales time for liquor was the reason they petitioned in the first place.

"It will help our sales revenue," he said.

According to Slaughter, both petitions were placed on the ballot after the Sunday liquor sales times were changed and are expected to remain when voters go to the polls.

Slaughter said most liquor sales petitions on the ballot are similar because a form from the Ohio Secretary of State gives the options a business has in applying and petitioning for liquor sales.

Oxford Spirits owner Sam Rao said his business has been able to sell alcohol at 11 a.m. Sundays since before the law was changed.

"It doesn't affect us at all because we have a Sunday liquor license already anyway," Rao said.

Rao said he is not expecting any changes in his sales as a result of the new law and doesn't plan to petition for any exceptions for the store.

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