Rod Brush, owner of the Green Lake One Stop convenience store, asked the Leighton Township Board for approval to sell beer and wine from 8 a.m. to noon Sundays.
Brush and township officials had discussions several years ago when Blue Laws were more strict locally. The board at that time allowed to sell beer and wine Sunday afternoons and evenings, but not mornings.
Brush told the board, “We’ve had a lot of customers ask for it. We operate in a resort area… All I’m asking for is what the state allows (7 a.m. to noon for beer and wine).”
He told the board he needs expanded Sunday hours for selling alcohol because years go he out of the gas sales business and now depends much more on sales of convenience items and alcohol. He estimated that about 50% of his alcohol sales occur on weekends.
He said that if he doesn’t offer it, customers will go elsewhere, like in Wayland, Caledonia, Byron Center.
He said he started a petition and received 129 signatures approving the idea in just five days, proving high demand.
Brush said many customers on a Sunday morning are anglers who plan to go out on the lake for the day and put the beer and wine in a cooler.
“I don’t think they’re there to start drinking at 8 o’clock in the morning,” he added.
One man in the audience said he doesn’t like the idea because of drunken driving crashes.
But Kate Scheltema said from the audience said she believes it’s important to support a local business that supplies a lawful product when there’s high demand.
She asked board members why they turned down the request for mornings years ago and Supervisor Steve Deer said the township is rural and conservative in character and officials believed allowing the sales afternoons and evenings was a good compromise.
Deer said the issue could be handled by a ballot question in 2018 or it could be handled much more quickly by board decision. He promised just that for the July meeting.
PHOTO: Rod Brush