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Sales on Sunday strong

County considering alcohol referendum

POSTED: November 23, 2011 4:00 a.m.

Russ Marcotte was still a little apprehensive Sunday afternoon as he prepared to open City Liquor.

But within the first twenty minutes, he had tallied 25 sales.

"There were people waiting at the door at 12:30 [p.m.]," he said.

Dawsonville was one of several area governments to place Sunday package sales of alcohol on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The referendum was possible after Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill in the spring that allowed communities to put the issue before voters.

The measure passed in Dawsonville by a nearly 63 percent to 37 percent margin.

"Each and every person who came in was happy that there are Sunday sales," said Marcotte, who owns the lone package store downtown.

Many patrons also posed for photos to document that they were among the first to legally buy alcohol on a Sunday in Dawsonville.

Marcotte said it will take a few weeks to see if Sunday sales average out without pulling revenue away from Saturday and Monday totals.

"This Saturday was excellent," he said.

Sunday's sales were also strong, and Marcotte said he saw several new customers.

"I made sure to ask where everyone was from when they came in - Pickens, Hall, Forsyth County on the lake and, of course, Dawson," he said.

"I'm hoping it pays off and is good for the city and myself."

Voters in several other nearby cities, including Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Oakwood, have approved Sunday sales.

Gainesville has set its first day of sales for Dec. 11, with the Gainesville City Council likely to give its final OK on Dec. 6.

Oakwood City Council is set to meet Dec. 12 to consider an ordinance setting an effective date.

Most of the counties that border Dawson - Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and Pickens - have not yet held a referendum on the issue.

Hall County voters will decide March 6 on whether to allow package sales and liquor by the drink on Sundays.

Dawson officials are considering a referendum on the same date.

On Monday, Commission Chair Mike Berg said he planned to present the idea during Tuesday night's work session.

If the commission approves, the first opportunity to place the issue on the ballot would be March 6 during the presidential preference primary.

"I would be in favor of doing that," Berg said.

Jeff Gill of the DCN regional staff contributed to this report.


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