By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Almost exactly one month after Sunday liquor sales began in Minnesota, liquor stores say their overall sales haven’t changed.

Five Sundays have passed since that first Sunday when consumers waited in line to buy a six pack in Minnesota, but reality is starting to set in for business owners.

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South Lyndale Liquors in Minneapolis has been owned by the same family for 40 years. They now pay 12 employees to staff the store on Sundays.

“The first Sunday, it was a big day,” South Lyndale Liquors owner Dan Campo said. “It was like an event, and since then it’s been kind of quiet.”

Campo says that has affected the store’s bottom line.

“The real summary of this is that we have increased our expenses to cover for this open day,” he said. “We are not seeing the increased revenue to cover that, as of yet.”

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South Lyndale liquors is not alone — the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, which represents 200 cities across Minnesota that have municipal liquor stores, is reporting their stores are selling the same amount of liquor over seven days as they used to over six days.

Under the new law, liquor stores have the option to not be open on Sundays. And while staying open may be adding to expenses, there is another factor — independent stores say consumers, including long time South Lyndale Liquors customers Karen and David Larsen, love the change.

“I find it convenient, and it allows us to make purchases that we forgot to do earlier in the week,” Karen Larsen said. “It’s a convenience.”

The Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association says, as far as it knows, only two cities of the 200 cities it represents are opting to keep their stores closed on Sundays — Thief River Falls and Park Rapids.

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Total Wine vice president Edward Cooper, meanwhile, says that their overall sales are up, and that Sunday sales have “exceeded our expectations.” Cooper, however, was not able to quantify how much their sales have increased.

Esme Murphy