David Vos is about to do something his dad couldn't when the elder Vos first bought the St. Cloud liquor business back in 1973 — open the door to customers, on a Sunday.
Vos won't be celebrating. For him, the new state law allowing Sunday liquor sales means one more day of work without much of an upside.
"It's not something that's going to help anyone in my position," Vos said. "I think the only people that might have been in favor of it is are people on the borders, people in Duluth or Moorhead. But other than that, it's not going to do anything to benefit us."
This weekend, Minnesota liquor retailers will be allowed to sell alcohol on a Sunday for the first time in the state's history. But not all liquor stores are planning to take full advantage of the new law.
Businesses have the option of deciding whether they want to be open on Sundays or not. Vos said he feels like he has no choice but to be open on Sundays or risk losing customers to bigger stores.
"You've got to sell every bit you can," he said. "It's not a giant purchase all the time. People are spending $3 sometimes. It's a volume thing, so you've got to be open when you can."
The Legislature debated the issue for years before finally voting this year to overturn the 159-year-old ban on Sunday sales. The ban was one of the "blue laws" that dated back to statehood and prevented sales of cars and alcohol on Sundays, thought to be a day set aside for worship and rest.
Supporters argued that the prohibition was outdated, and customers want the convenience of buying alcohol any day they choose.
But many smaller liquor retailers fought back against the law change, arguing that being open an extra day a week isn't worth the extra staffing costs.
Tony Chesak is executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which lobbied against the law change. Chesak thinks most liquor businesses will be open and busy this Sunday, but he doesn't expect it to last.
"It's not going to be a net win for the state or the retail industry on many levels," Chesak said. "The first couple of Sundays may be profitable, but after that, I think the shine's going to get worn off a little bit, and people are going to go back to the old buying habits."
On average, it will cost retailers between 12 and 17 percent more to be open an extra day, Chesak said. He said independent retailers will have a difficult time absorbing the cost.
Under the new law, cities can choose not to allow Sunday sales. So far, only the city of Ely has done so.
The new law allows stores to sell liquor from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., less than the usual weekday hours. Chesak said some retailers might shrink that window even more.
"I think for the first few weeks, people are going to decide what hours are going to be acceptable and what they can make some money off of, and it's not going to hurt them too badly with added overhead," he said.
In St. Cloud, Vos plans to open his store, the Liquor Shoppe on 25th, at noon on most Sundays.
"It's already going to change my life and the life of all of my employees," Vos said. "But I'm not going to spend a Sunday morning coming in here at 11 o' clock instead of noon and change my entire family's life."
Some retailers might choose not to open their doors at all. They include Steve Pickard, owner of the Wine Shop in downtown St. Cloud.
"We're a smaller store, and the business just isn't there," he said.
Aside from New Year's Eve or a few other special days, Pickard doesn't plan to be open on Sundays.
"Otherwise we'll just kind of play it by ear," he said. "I could see football season there might be some demand. But if we just train our regulars to come in on Saturday, it wouldn't be a big deal."
Still, he's worried that could mean losing out on some business. Right now, his customers plan ahead and buy a little extra on Saturdays, Pickard said.
"Once they begin to understand or assimilate that Sundays are open," he said, "my fear is that they'll buy a little less on Saturdays, and then Mondays might not be quite as busy."