By Matt Trotter
Public Radio Tulsa
Seven Oklahoma counties had propositions on their ballots to let liquor stores open on Sundays, and all seven passed.
Cleveland, Creek, Kingfisher, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Tulsa and Washington counties passed propositions with varying levels of support, ranging from a high of 73% in Tulsa to a low of 56% in Muskogee.
“We encourage Oklahoma counties who have not taken up the measure to consider the option. This is a win for both Oklahoma businesses and consumers, and with this update, we will continue to see the beer industry, alcohol sales and selection continue to expand,” Oklahoma Beer Alliance President Lisette Barnes said in a statement.
Manager Preston Roberts said Collins Midtown Liquor Store in Tulsa has seen overall sales have dropped since grocery and convenience stores got approval to sell wine and beer any day of the week.
“Wine sales went down drastically in a lot of liquor stores, as well as beer. Us being open on Sunday would be more beneficial to us to try to compete with the bigger markets,” Roberts said. “It still won’t get us back to where we need to be, where we used to be for the last 10 years, but it will get us back to where we need to be for Sunday football, sports, everything on the weekends.”
Collins Midtown is on Yale between 15th Street and 21st Street, with a Reasor’s just south of the store and a Walgreens just north of it. Roberts said he’s been trying to stock rare beers and wines or ones only liquor stores can sell in order to bring in people now buying beer and wine from those retailers.
“That’s what you kind of got to do, is pull those people over here because we’ll have more of a variety of beers or wine than they would. That’s kind of our goal right now, is just try to pull those people this way to buy that six-pack or four-pack. Instead of something over there, they can buy that and something else over here as well,” Roberts said.
Grocery and convenience stores can sell beer up to 8.99% alcohol by volume and wine up to 14.99%.
There were around 600 package stores in Oklahoma when liquor law changes took effect in 2018. By some estimates, one in four will end up closing because of sales lost to grocery and convenience stores.