JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – – For the first time ever, liquor stores in Tennessee were open on Sunday.
It comes only days after Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill permitting the seven-day sale of wine and liquor that started immediately.
Lighthouse Wine & Liquor in Elizabethton opens doors at 11 am On Sunday and within minutes, customers have started showing off.
One of the very first customers was Doug Oakman, he said he was waiting for that.
"I think that's the biggest thing that ever happened," said Oakman. "I think we should be able to drink on Sunday."
Bill Chappell, owner of Lighthouse Wine & Liquor, said that while his customers use the new law, he was not thrilled to open his shop on Sunday.
"As a small business, we have families and respect for Sunday and spend Sunday time with friends and family," Chappell said. "From this point of view, I would prefer not to be open on Sundays, but from a business standpoint, it somehow forces me to make a business decision to stay open."
Lighthouse Wine & Liquor was not the only store opening on Sunday in the Tri-Cities region.
In Johnson City, Patrick McFall, seller at Parkway Discount Wine & Liquor, said he began seeing customers on Sunday at 12 noon.
"We had about 30 customers So far, the first hour of work has been pretty busy," said McFall. "We have some people coming and buying champagne, wine and spirits and stuff."
Oakman said he believes this change will be good for the liquor stores in Elizabethton.
"I think it's good for the economy, I think it's great," Oakman said. "Now everyone can drink whatever he wants on the weekend, he does not have to wait until Monday."
The new law allows liquor stores and grocery stores to sell alcoholic beverages between 10am and 11pm. on Sundays.
While liquor stores can immediately benefit from the new law, grocery stores must wait until January 1 to sell wine on Sunday. Both liquor stores and grocery stores are barred from selling wine and spirits at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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