AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Sumter County restaurants and stores will be able to start selling alcohol on Sundays this weekend. County commissioners officially approved the sales this week after voters passed the referendum two weeks ago.
Companies near Lake Blackshear are excited. They've been losing customers for years to Crisp County on Sundays.
Rick Barnes stocks his beer cooler preparing for boaters this weekend. He'll be hauling much more trash out this summer thanks to a new ordinance allowing him to sell on Sundays.
"We'll be open first of April beginning on Sunday's that's for sure," said Barnes, owner of Booger Bottom on Lake Blackshear.
That means more runs to the nearby beer cooler.. and more money in his tip jar. But Barnes says it's about much more than just the beer sales.
"Being able to open on Sunday gives us the option then to sell gas, to then be open and sell food as well, hamburgers, hotdogs, and compete in our day to day business," said Barnes.
Barnes previously closed his family-owned business on Sundays because people went to neighboring counties where beer was sold.
"We had no way to compete with them on Sunday, and it's a big business here at the lake," he said.
That's exactly what county leaders hope to avoid by proposing the referendum. "It's a drawing card to bring customers in there for a one stop part instead of going somewhere else," said County Commission Chairman Randy Howard.
It's not about huge profits for these businesses though. It's about being able to offer their services every day of the week.
"Gives us all our options. We're not just handicapped on just a few things," said Barnes.
Barnes is excited that this is something he'll be doing much more this summer. Many other business owners on the lake are also excited about this new law.
Convenience and package stores can also now sell alcohol on Sundays.