May 22, 2017 | By: Josh Peterson

Bemidji City Liquor Stores Will Remain Closed On Sundays

With just over a month away from the first Sunday liquor sales, the question to be open or to remain closed was placed before the Bemidji City Council. With support on both sides of the issue, the city finance director says he would not recommend Sunday sales for city owned liquor stores.

The City of Bemidji was presented with three options to choose from when it comes to Sunday liquor sales. The first option is to remain closed, the second is to be open for the hours stated in the new law which is from 11:00am until 6:00pm, and the third option includes being open for a reduced amount of time on Sundays. For some council members not opening on a Sunday could be a big risk.

Kevin Fenner, who oversees Bemidji’s liquor department, says that while sales may be up a few Sundays it may not sustain itself.

It is unclear if privately owned liquor stores outside the city limits will open on Sundays. If they do, the city could lose sales by staying closed.

Detroit Lakes, another city of similar size to Bemidji with municipal stores, has decided to authorize Sunday sales. One alderman there told Forum News Service that he expects the uptick in sales revenue from having the liquor store open on Sundays will more than compensate for the expense of keeping it staffed seven days a week. But Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht says she is not convinced that Sunday sales would work.

Four out of the seven city council members were at today’s work session. Council members Michael Meehlhause, Roger Hellquist and Nancy Erickson were unable to attend the meeting. The City of Bemidji can choose to open city liquor stores on Sunday at any time after July first.

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