For the first time since Prohibition, this coming Sunday marks the first time Connecticut residents will be able to buy alcohol in local package stores.
And the owners of smaller mom-and-pop stores say the bill signed into law earlier this week by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is forcing them to work additional hours in order to remain competitive with other local stores and those stores just across the border in Port Chester.
At many stores on the CT-NY border in Greenwich, signs announcing Sunday business hours are becoming as common place as sales signs for beer, wine and alcohol sales specials. The new law allows booze sales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
But that's not to say the operators of those stores are pleased with Malloy and the change he proposed earlier this year to generate millions of dollars in sales tax revenue. So with the law he signed earlier this week, stores will now have the option to open 55 additional weekend days and holidays to sell beer, wine and alcohol.
"I'm not real happy about the decision. It doesn't mean tht I'll be putting extra money in my pocket," said Mike Fingold, owner of Madison Wines and Liquors, a stone's throw from the New York State line at the corner of Mill and North Water streets in Byram.
"I think it's good for the consumer to have the option to purchase alcohol here on Sunday but that means I have to work 52 more days a year," explained Fingold, who's owned the store for 9 years. "I'll be working more hours for less money."
For Julia Spadaro who's owned East Port Chester Wines and Liquors for more than 60 years, the law change "sucks in plain English. I don't think is necessary. People are coming are used" to buying their alcohol on Saturdays.
Even though her son will be operating the store that's about 4 doors away from the Port Chester border on Sundays, Spadaro said, she thinks the whole situation is a "waste of time" because "people are creatures of habit." She said those who were accustomed to making 'border runs' on Sunday for beer and booze most likely wil continue those habits.
She said is skeptical whether the additional hours will translate into more business. "Most of our customers are from New York."
In Port Chester, for Roger Maxon and his daughter Tracy who run Varmax Liquor Pantry on Putnam Avenue, it remains to be seen whether the Connecticut law change will impact the business of the store he's owned for 31 years.
Maxon said he doesn't plan to change the way he does business.
"I don't look at other retailers business models or state laws. I track my customers demands and habits. We're going to do what we do everyday," Maxon said.
Maxon said he's witnessed many changes to state laws over the years including the lifting of the New York Sunday sales ban about 6 years ago. "Most retailers wanted their Sundays off. But you get accustomed to being open," Maxon said.
While New York law allows retailers to sell alcohol from noon to 8 p.m., most retailers opt for noon to 6 p.m. business hours.
"In the end," Maxon said, "consumers are going to shop where they're comfortable."
Fingold said that the law change will give larger stores a more competitive edge of the small businessman. He said he believes "the ratio for making more money by working more hours will actually be working more hours for less money. It's an advantage for the large stores but it goes against the small business. And the foundation of America was built on small business."