Regarding Sunday Sales…
I wish the answer was simple, but it is not. We understand why many consumers are in favor of Sunday Sales, but things look very different from Kahn's point of view.
If the Sunday sales law passes, then Kahn’s and other package liquor stores in central Indiana have a choice: open and incur 52 days of additional labor, selling, general and administrative expenses and compete with groceries and pharmacies for Sunday sales… or stay closed.
You know who keeps pushing for this law don’t you? The media and others sponsoring the bill want you to think it's consumers like you, but Big Box Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, and Convenience Stores are the main proponents of the new law. We get it. Essentially, groceries and pharmacies are forced to shrink their normal selling space for the time they are open on Sundays. If the new law passes, then grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores won’t incur any additional labor costs or other significant expenses. Since Sunday is one of the biggest grocery shopping days of the week, many consumers will buy alcohol when they do the rest of their shopping because it will be more convenient.
Are Hoosiers going to drink more just because they can buy alcohol on Sundays? Probably not. Most Hoosiers will consume the same amount of alcohol; they’ll just buy it on the day that’s most convenient for them. We do not foresee increased sales for Kahn’s... just the current 6 days of business spread over 7 days. If sales do increase, we certainly do not foresee an increase that will offset the additional costs of being open. For the small “Mom and Pop” Liquor stores throughout the state, these additional costs could be the kiss of death, as they incur a 7th day of expenses and little to no increased revenue.
Liquor Stores are fighting hard to limit the exposure of alcohol to minors. All of our employees must be 21 and pass a training class in the Safe Sales of Alcohol while grocery stores can hire minors. Additionally, you must be 21 to enter a Liquor Store but teens and pre-teens are free to walk the liquor aisles freely in a grocery store. In a nutshell…if grocery stores win, minors will have easier access to alcohol and they'll be exposed to alcohol at an earlier age.
Additionally, we would argue that the Sunday law makes an already unfair playing field even more unfair. For example, if you want to open a package liquor store in Indiana , like Kahn’s, Crown, UPL, Payless, 21st Amendment, and others, you have to buy a license. Auctioned licenses can run from $150,000-450,000. Want to buy a new license from the government? Good luck. New licenses are based on population increases and there have been no new Marion County licenses issued for years. In fact, it is doubtful that there will ever be any new licenses issued (unless the law changes), since Marion County's population is shrinking. The final way to obtain a license is to buy a liquor store already in operation. Most owners value their licenses in the $200,000-$250,000 range, and as you can imagine, no sane owner will just sell you their license. Compare this to what it costs for grocery licenses (which are unlimited)…and cost only $2,500. How is that for an unfair playing field?
Make no mistake about it; grocers are leading the charge on the Sunday sales law. We just want you to know that there are two sides to every story, and we feel that the Sunday sales law is anti-small business, anti-competition and is all about money for the big grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and the government. Kahn’s Fine Wines will adapt and be open for business if and when the new law passes; we just hope you’ll make the extra trip on Sundays, because like always, we’ll still offer the greatest selection around, top-notch service and competitive prices.
Told you the answer was not simple. Hopefully this clears things up from the retail side.