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Originally published Saturday, July 23, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Liquor sales become legal on Sundays in 35 stores

In what marks the end of Prohibition-era liquor bans, Sunday sales of alcohol become legal tomorrow in about three dozen stores around the...

Seattle Times staff reporter

In what marks the end of Prohibition-era liquor bans, Sunday sales of alcohol become legal tomorrow in about three dozen stores around the state.

After failing twice, the Legislature this year passed a law allowing stores to sell hard liquor and other alcohol on Sundays, during restricted hours.

The state's 154 contract stores — those that are privately run — were offered the chance for Sunday sales, and 35 applied. In September, 20 of the 160 state-owned liquor stores, which have not yet been selected, also will open on Sundays.

Opening stores


These contract liquor stores are scheduled to be open tomorrow. It's the first time liquor stores have been open on Sundays since at least 1913. Store hours are noon to 5 p.m.

• Buckley, 177 River Ave. S.

• Cashmere, Chelan County, 342 Sunset Highway

• Cle Elum, Kittitas County, 705 E. First St.

• Coulee City, Grant County, 9944 Highway 2 E.

• Coupeville, Island County, 306 N. Main St.

• Duvall, 15729 Main St. N.E.

• Grand Mound, Thurston County, 19947 Old Highway 99

• Granite Falls, Snohomish County, 105 S. Granite St.

• Hunters, Stevens County, 4983 Highway 25

• Ilwaco, Pacific County, 108 Spruce St. W.

• Langley, Island County, 212 Second St.

• La Conner, Skagit County, 102 Morris St.

• Long Beach, Pacific County, 800 S. Eighth St. and Pacific Highway

• Maple Falls, Whatcom County, 7785 Silver Lake Road

• Mossyrock, Lewis County, 254 E. State St.

• Newport, Pend Oreille County, 308 S. Washington Ave.

• Northport, Stevens County, 208 Center St.

• Orcas, San Juan County, 8368 Orcas Road

• Pateros, Okanogan County, 164 Pateros Mall

• Pe Ell, Lewis County, 103 Main St.

• Point Roberts, Whatcom County, 145 Tyce Road

• Rockford, Spokane County, 3 First St.

• Roslyn, Kittitas County, 101 Pennsylvania Ave.

• Skykomish, 148 5th St. N.

• South Bend, Pacific County, 916 ½ Robert Bush Drive

• Spanaway, Pierce County, 18707 Pacific Ave.

• Spokane, Greenacres, E. 18309 Appleway

• Sprague, Lincoln County, 201 W. First St.

• Sunnyside, Yakima County, 416 E. Edison Ave.

• Steilacoom, Pierce County, 1310 Commercial St.

• Springdale, Stevens County, W. 203 Shaffer St.

• Sultan, 312 Main St.

• Twisp, Okanogan County, 102 Methow Valley Highway 20

• Washougal, Clark County, 1803 E St.

• Westport, Grays Harbor County, 733 N. Montesano St.

"I'm kind of curious how it's going to go," said Vicki Mathes, who owns Central Sundries in Roslyn, Kittitas County, the store made famous in the TV show "Northern Exposure." "I'm not sure sales will be huge, but if I sell a lot of wine, that would be great."

According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, a ban on Sunday liquor sales was law more than 20 years before Prohibition. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the ban on Sunday sales remained.

"Sunday is the second-busiest revenue generating day in the week," said Dave Ducharme, a lobbyist for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, who pushed for the new law. "It's kind of ridiculous when you can buy distilled spirits in bars on Sunday."

Lifting the ban on Sunday sales makes Washington the 33rd state to allow the sale of liquor seven days a week. A state analysis estimated the Sunday sales will generate $7.3 million over the next two years.

Rick Garza, deputy administrative director for the state's Liquor Control Board, said that may be conservative. Oregon allowed Sunday liquor sales three years ago and revenue from liquor sales was up 8 percent last year in part because of the Sunday sales.

When Pennsylvania repealed its Sunday ban two years ago, it sold $24 million in liquor on Sundays the first year, even though only 10 percent of its stores were open. Last year, with the same 640 stores, it sold nearly $30 million.

Under Washington's new law, stores will be open for five hours on Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m. When the idea to allow Sunday sales in Washington surfaced three years ago, the proposal would have forced all state stores to open on Sundays.

Bill Minaglia, who owns several businesses in Duvall, including the town's liquor store, also plans to be open tomorrow. He said his gas station is open seven days a week anyway and sees this as a way to provide more work for his employees. He expects to see customers who are planning a party and forgot to buy liquor to drop by his store.

The loudest opposition to Sunday sales came from the state's grocery stores, which complained that liquor stores already undercut their wine sales by offering the same wines at lower prices.

"The key issue we continue to have is they're allowed to sell wine at a price below what the supermarkets can sell it at," said Clif Finch, with the Washington Food Industry. He said liquor stores were selling wine at prices about 10 percent below the supermarket costs.

Sunday sales by state liquor stores mean one more day supermarkets must compete with the state, he said.

In response, the state raised the price of wine this year to make it more comparable to supermarket prices. But Finch complains that it is a one-time only adjustment and needs to be readjusted for inflation.

The contract stores that open on Sundays aren't committed to Sunday sales, and if it's not profitable they can close, Garza said. He said the state is negotiating with its unions and soon will choose the state-run stores that will be part of the 18-month pilot project.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

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