A change in state law is spurring an effort to allow Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages in McPherson.
A public meeting to discuss the possibility will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 in the City Commission Room at the McPherson Municipal Center, 400 E. Kansas Ave.
Rhonda Pliler-Boydston, owner of Dottie’s Girls Wine and Spirits, along with her daughter, Amy Russell, began the push for Sunday liquor sales in our city by taking the issue before the city commission.
“We’re also getting signatures at the liquor store,” Russell said.
The change in the law, which will go into effect in April 2019, allows retailers who previously could sell beverages with up to 3.2 percent alcohol to sell beverages of up to 6 percent alcohol.
Fearing the loss of their customer base spurred Russell and Pliler-Boydston to take action.
“We wanted to get a jump on it to keep everything in the community,” Russell said. “...We just didn’t want it to hurt the small business people.”
While there are four liquor stores in McPherson, their customers must travel out of town to purchase alcohol on Sundays.
Kansas law changed to allow Sunday liquor sales in 2004, giving local governments the option to allow or restrict sales.
“There’s a good chunk of cities around the state that have allowed Sunday liquor sales,” McPherson City Administrator Nick Gregory said.
The City of McPherson is seeking input from the public on the possibility of Sunday sales.
“I wouldn’t say the city is pushing one way or the other, we’d like to hear what the citizens have to say,” Gregory said.
The city put up a poll on its Facebook page that, while unofficial, showed a clear majority of voters being in favor of Sunday liquor sales — 89 percent of the 1,000 votes cast were in favor of the proposition.
“We want to try to gather as much information as we can,” Gregory said. “...There’s mixed feelings about it.”
Some liquor store owners may not want to allow Sunday sales because of the increase in working hours.
Some city residents may reject the proposition out of a cultural or spiritual tradition, while others may chalk it up to letting free enterprise decide the market.
“I think for a lot of people, their objections are moral in nature,” Gregory said.
Russell emphasized that if McPherson does allow Sunday sales, Dottie’s Girls will not open until after noon.
“We don’t want to be open while church is going on,” Russell said.
The issue of Sunday liquor sales can either be decided by a majority vote from the city commission or by winning a ballot vote from McPherson residents.
“At some point, we may put an ordinance together,” Gregory said.
Nearly 300 signatures have been gathered on the petition for Sunday liquor sales so far.
“It’s about time that it happened in McPherson, because everyone around us has it,” Russell said.
The public is invited to attend and share their thoughts about Sunday liquor sales at the Aug. 30 meeting.
Letters can also be sent to City Administrator Nick Gregory at email@example.com or McPherson City Commission, RE: Sunday Package Liquor Sales, P.O. Box 1008, McPherson, KS 67460.
“We look for any opportunity we can to get input from the public,” Gregory said.