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Business as Usual is a Change on Election Day For Louisville Liquor Stores

Party Mart owner Jerry Rodgers for years lost hours of business every May and November—because Kentucky didn't allow liquor stores to open on Election Day.

“So, sure the guy who likes to come in and get a small bottle of adult beverages with his Coca-Cola, he just did without on Election Day,” Rodgers said.

The lost business is no longer a problem for Rodgers, nor are the lost opportunities to purchase libations for customers. Today, Rodgers’ Louisville business opened at 9 a.m

Louisville liquor stores have welcomed the General Assembly’s 2013 approval of Senate Bill 13, which lifted the state’s ban on alcohol sales during polling hours. Originally, the ban was a Prohibition-eraresponse to buying votes with liquor. The new law still allows local governments to place their own restrictions on sales.

Rodgers said said since the change, Party Mart sees a variety of customers on Election Day and it benefits his store.

“There are a lot of politicians that want to celebrate that evening that have great plans of winning and those who lose need to drown their sorrows in something other than Kool-aid,” Rodgers said. “It’s a win-win situation for the retailer.”

On Tuesday, Old Town Wine & Spirits employee Gordon Jackson said that the change has not impacted the store much.

“It’s kind of interesting. In years past, we were closed on Election Day and we were super busy from 6 p.m. Once the polls closed we got really, really busy.” Jackson said.

He said on average he has about 15 customers per hour. Jackson said that this is a typical day for the store.

Jackson said in terms of revenue he doesn’t think his store profit anymore than a normal day from the law being changed.

“I always felt like in terms of business that day it didn’t really affect us to be close from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Jackson said. “ I felt like it was kind of an odd law.”

But Rodgers said he is profiting from the new election day hours.

“It’s a good day. I will tell you today I am in one of our small stores that is manned by one person and I've not stopped,” Rodgers said. “I've been quite busy and with as much as $200, one customer bought over $200 just in wine. I just think that would not have happened had the store been closed. “

Rodgers said he welcomes the ability to do business on election days. And he argues that it’s good for the state.

“I don't think anybody uses a pocket rocket of cheap bourbon to influence a vote anymore,” he said.