Still closed Sundays in Colorado
DENVER – Teklu Adraha isn’t afraid of working hard. The Ethiopian immigrant puts in 16 hour days in the Brighton liquor store he runs with his wife, hoping to build business, a bank account and a future for their four children.But Adraha doesn’t want to give up Sundays, his only day off, even if it would mean making more money. Sunday’s the day he takes his family to church and community soccer games, and the day he attends meetings for an Ethiopian community group he heads.
Like many liquor store owners in the Denver area, he likes Colorado law the way it is: No Sunday sales, even though supporters say some stores in the mountain resorts want a change to cash in on thirsty weekend tourists.Adraha sees the dilemma as a choice between business and family.”Both ways it hurts,” said Adraha, who vowed to leave Colorado if the Legislature approves a bill that would basically get rid of the state’s most prominent blue law.
Over the last five years, the national liquor manufacturers’ trade group has been pushing states to scrap laws that keep liquor stores shuttered on the Christian Sabbath day, arguing it gives cash-strapped states a chance to raise more tax revenue and helps busy consumers.The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has succeeded in 11 states but the group’s efforts have gotten bogged down in Colorado. Independent liquor stores fear Sunday sales would create a battle from chain stores like King Soopers and Safeway, which would probably lobby to sell regular beer instead of beer whose alcohol content is capped at 3.2 percent.
Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, first proposed the change, saying she was answering the concerns of resort liquor stores missing out on Sunday sales. The surprising opposition from Front Range liquor stores prompted her to consider limiting the change to resort areas but her bill stalled anyway.Veiga said she isn’t trying to get supermarkets to expand their sales but admits she can’t prevent future lawmakers from doing so.”Everyone has their own piece of the pie, and they’re afraid that if anything changes, it will start crumbling,” she said.
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