SIDNEY — Sidney residents will consider allowing Sunday liquor sales within town lines on the Nov. 8 ballot.

A yes vote would bring the town’s lone liquor store, Annie’s Variety, one step closer to selling spirits on Sundays.

The ballot measure is the result of a citizen’s petition circulated by store owner Annie Manley.

Manley started her petition in early September. By Sept. 23, the deadline for submitting the petition to the town office, Manley had gathered 311 signatures — seven more than the 304 signatures she needed to get the issue on a ballot.

“The reason I’m going for it is, for one, the customers want it. The state allows it anyway,” she said. “We just want to do it in the town. Keep the money in the town.”

Manley estimates her store serves about 400 customers per day for gasoline, prepared foods, groceries and liquor. The store opened in June 2009.

Liquor accounts for about 10 percent of the store’s daily sales, Manley said, and on Saturdays, liquor sales average an estimated $400 to $500.

If Sunday sales are approved in Sidney, Manley would then need to apply for an additional license for her store. If that comes to pass, Manley guesses liquor sales won’t account for much.

“I don’t think we’ll sell so much on a Sunday,” she said. “I think it might be a couple hundred bucks. But it would be convenient for those people who want to buy it on a Sunday. They won’t have to go away to Augusta, or away to Waterville.”

The nearest store that sells liquor on Sundays is eight miles away in Augusta, Manley said.

Sidney Town Clerk Shawna Foye said beer, wine and liquor sales are a relatively new development within the municipality.

Sidney was a dry town throughout much of its 219-year history. In 1966, however, town voters approved the sale of beer and wine, but liquor sales remained illegal.

Then, in 2006, Sidney residents voted to allow liquor sales Monday through Saturday and to prohibit sales on Sundays.

The measure allowing sales passed 1,159-662, but Sunday sales was voted down by a closer margin of 73 votes, 956-883. Eighteen more voters also cast ballots on the Sunday question than the other sales proposal.

It is unclear how many other communities in Maine prevent Sunday liquor sales, because neither the Maine Municipal Association nor the State Liquor and Lottery Commission track the data.

Manley said she’s not sure how voters will respond to the question this time, but she has been encouraged by the response to her petition.

“People would ask me, ‘Is this something that’s going to help you?'” she said. “When I said yes, they had no problem signing it. They want to help the community. They want to help the store. They’re very nice. The town has been very supportive.”

As far as she knows, no one is actively opposing the measure.

Sidney residents Brian Saunders and Kristen McEwan, an engaged couple, said Thursday they hadn’t been aware of the ballot question.

“Neither of us are big drinkers, so it wouldn’t affect us either way,” Saunders said.

McEwan, on the other hand, said she would oppose the measure.

“There’s something still sacred about Sundays,” she said.

“I would go the opposite way,” Saunders said. “I would say, ‘Why not?'”


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