Liquor, wine to be sold on Sundays for the first time in Tennessee

(Fox 17 News)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Tennessee liquor stores will be open on Sunday for the first time ever this weekend.

Gov. Bill Haslam (R) signed the bill on Friday, passing the seven day sales law. While its mixed reactions in the mid-state, it’s also a blur for some residents like Nader “Smiley” Loka, the owner of Smiley’s Liquors in North Nashville.

"It just happened so fast," Loka said. "That's more than surprising. That was really quick."

Less than 10 days ago, the Tennessee Senate passed the bill 17-11. Now with many provisions effective immediately, it’s hard for some to open up on Sundays right away.

“We run the business right now by ourself so that would need a little bit of help," Loka said. "We're going to discuss this me and my partners. I don't mind grocery stores to be selling wine during Sundays."

The law states liquor stores may open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays, but retail stores can't sell alcoholic beverages on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Grocery stores won't be able to sell wine on Sundays until January 6, 2019, but will be able to sell wine on any holiday after that.

“Especially being next door to Kroger, big grocery stores I believe it will take a huge amount of our sales during the whole year," Loka said. "My biggest concern will be what about the liquor going in the grocery store."

The law also requires retail stores to immediately begin “marking up” the price of spirits by 10 percent and the minimum markup for wine remains at 20 percent.

"Most people in the industry see that as the first step to putting spirits in grocery stores," said William Cheek, with Waller Law Firms.

Smiley said that markup isn't dampening his spirit.

“Support the small business," Smiley said. "We appreciate every customer. During the week, during Sundays, we would love to see them.”

Several local liquor store owners said they’re excited to be open on Super Bowl Sunday.

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