Forget July – this MN liquor store started Sunday sales early

Why wait?

Yes, Sunday sales are finally legal in Minnesota, with Gov. Dayton's signature making it official last week.

But the law isn't supposed to kick in until July 1. So why is a popular Minneapolis wine store already open?

On Sunday, Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese Shop in northeast Minneapolis announced via email and Twitter that they're open – and selling booze.

The post says the liquor store and its adjoining cheese shop are open this Sunday, March 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wait, what? The law doesn't officially take hold until four months from now.

But the shop's owner doesn't seem to care. Owner Jim Surdyk told the Star Tribune he didn't consult with any authorities before deciding to open the store, and that the decision is in line with his family’s tradition.

“My father was the first one to discount liquor way back in the 1960s, and he didn’t wait till July to do it,” Surdyk said. And he told WCCO that Sunday sales were signed into law, and that's "good enough for him."

One shopper at Surdyk's told GoMN customers in the store are walking around kind of hesitant, as if they are going to get in trouble.

City fines Surdyk's

On Sunday evening, the City of Minneapolis released a statement regarding Surdyk's selling booze on Sunday.

"The City has been in verbal contact with owner Jim Surdyk. He was advised, both by phone and again in person, that allowing his store to be open for liquor sales on Sunday was in violation of the law. The new Sunday liquor sales law does not go into effect until July 1, 2017.

"As a result of this violation, the city is in the process of issuing $3,500 in citations against Surdyk’s. The city will also pursue sanctions against the off-sale liquor license held by Surdyk's based on the owner's clear disregard of the law."

And the Department of Public Safety, which oversees alcohol enforcement, told GoMN "The law allowing for Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota does not go into effect until July 1; no off-sale establishment is licensed to sell liquor on Sundays at this time."

"We received reports that Surdyk's Liquor in Minneapolis was open and selling liquor today in violation of the law. We will assist the City of Minneapolis with its investigation," the department added.

But this isn't likely to stop Surdyk from selling booze in contravention of state laws in the future. He told MPR that he plans to continue opening for business on Sundays.

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