Will receipts help or hurt local businesses? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Will receipts help or hurt local businesses?

December 19, 2006

Albany - Tuesday night, Albany City Commissioners likely will approve alcohol license renewals for next year. This time there are stricter rules in place for restaurants that sell alcohol on Sundays that came about only after a WALB investigation showed the city had no policy to monitor those restaurants.

One manager says the new rules are a piece of cake, while another says the city is just trying to take a piece of her pie.

Hooters is known for a few things--the girls, the wings and the beer. "The weekends, of course, are real big for us," says District Manager John Wilson.

Since Sunday sales of alcohol were first allowed in Albany, they've been bringing in special sporting event packages to draw in customers. But even with those big beer days, like Super bowl Sunday, alcohol only makes up about 30% of total sales for the year. "Weekly we break down the numbers... for food, beer, merchandise and wine sales." 

Wilson says they've been keeping very detailed receipts for all sales. He was surprised to know the city only recently developed a plan to keep track. "Everybody needs to pull out their books and be honest about it."

Want a Sunday beer? You can get one at just about any restaurant with an alcohol license, but once they come up for renewal they must prove that 50% of their sales come from something other than alcohol. Otherwise, Wilson says it's not really a restaurant. "If they're over 50%, they're a bar, not a restaurant."

Darlene Slaymaker owns Boxers. She says sure it's a bar, but it's also a very successful restaurant. "We've got the best food in town," she says. But in addition to the food, it's one of the places people go to party. Slaymaker says she's working to make sure the partying doesn't go beyond the limit.

Slaymaker says, "We're right on the border. We're trying to pull facts and figures together and see."

Though she says she'll follow the law, that doesn't mean she agrees with it. "The city has gone through a lot of work and trouble trying to figure out how to make it so only hotels can be open," says Slaymaker.  And she's not sure all of that trouble is really worth it. Do you think you can meet the requirement? "I'm not sure it's worth it. If I was not already in business in Albany, Georgia, I would encourage every business not to come to Albany."

While Slaymaker reviews her receipts and sales, she'll have another decision to make: Will Boxers remain open on Sundays?

Darlene Slaymaker says if restaurants and hotels can sell alcohol on Sunday, she believes bars and convenience stores should be allowed to also.

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