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Silence on Sunday sales
Vote draws little public reaction
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

• Early voting for the March 6 presidential preference primary will run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through Feb. 24 in the Forsyth County Administration building, 110 Main St. in Cumming.

• Saturday early voting is set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the same location Feb. 25. For more information, call (770) 781-2118 or visit

For ages, beer has been roped off at Forsyth County grocery stores on Sundays and the lights in local liquor stores have been dim.

But as the referendum considering a change approaches, few residents have publicly taken a stance in support or opposition.

The March 6 vote hasn’t drawn as much attention as Georgia’s Republican presidential preference primary with which it shares the ballot.

In Forsyth County and the city of Cumming, the ballot will also include a "yes" or "no" question on whether stores should be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays.

Early voting for the primary began Monday. As of late last week, several hundred people had voted either in person or by absentee ballot, according to the Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections Office.

Bobby Sigle, owner of Olde Towne Bottle Shoppe in Cumming, seems confident the referendum will pass, even though he’s not necessarily in favor of it.

"Do I want it to pass? No, not really," Sigle said. "I don’t want to work on Sundays. Who does?"

He’s had several customers tell him they’re voting in favor of it, so he’s prepared for a rush in case it passes.

People likely will be excited to buy on Sundays for the first time locally, said Sigle, adding that that’s been the trend in other cities that passed the referendum in November.

Those include the nearby cities of Dawsonville, Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Oakwood.

"In the beginning, I think it’ll be a big deal," he said. "But in the long run, I think it’ll equal out and not add a whole lot of extra business. The grocery [and department] stores, they’re going to make a killing."

The measure came about in 2011, when the state legislature voted to allow local governments to let voters decide if they’d like to legalize Sunday sales.

Publix, which has several supermarkets in Forsyth County, hasn’t taken an official stance on the issue, spokeswoman Brenda Reid said.

"We have been in favor of allowing customers to vote whether they want the Sunday alcohol sales or not," Reid said.

In other Georgia locales where the referendum has passed, she said the stores have been seeing customers spread out purchases rather than spending more.

The ban on Sunday sales has been attributed to religious reasons.

Robbie Mathis, pastor at Freedom Tabernacle, said ultimately the decision comes down to each individual.

"Regardless of what day it is, people have to choose within their hearts," Mathis said. "Even if it’s sitting before them, they either choose to take it or not to take it.

"Hopefully, people, especially believers, will take it in their heart and vote in their convictions of what’s right and what’s not right. It’s a day we’ve set aside to worship and honor God."

His church has not taken a stance on the issue, and he said he hasn’t heard any discussion on the matter in his circles of pastors and friends.

A county native, Mathis noted that if the referendum passes, it will certainly be a "little different" for the community to have Sunday sales.