Making history: Eden Prairie municipal liquor stores open for first Sunday in history

Sun Current staff photos by Sean Miner

Around a dozen people lined up outside the Den Road Eden Prairie Municipal Liquor store just before it opened at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 2. A man makes the very first purchase at the Den Road liquor store. While sales spiked right at the beginning of the day, staff reported the sales flow as most similar to an average Thursday. Liquor store staff assisted patrons with their purchases. Any purchase earned a customer a sticker commemorating the historic day, and purchases over $60 came with a T-shirt.
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Liquor store staff assisted patrons with their purchases. Any purchase earned a customer a sticker commemorating the historic day, and purchases over $60 came with a T-shirt.
At 11 a.m. on July 2, Eden Prairie’s three municipal liquor stores opened on a Sunday for the first time in history. At the Den Road location, over a dozen people gathered outside in the minutes before, happy to take part in a first for the history books.

According to Jaime Urbina, operations manager at Eden Prairie Liquor, the first Sunday brought in customers throughout the day.

“It was pretty steady throughout the day,” said Urbina. “That was a definite positive for sales. We could compare it closest to Thursdays, but who knows — considering when you look at the time frame right now. It’s a holiday weekend.”

Urbina said it was hard to predict how Sunday sales would affect the business in future weeks, but noted that if July 2 was any indication, the effect would be positive.

“I think we’ll get a better picture of what Sundays will look like after the next few,” said Urbina. “There were a ton of people who came in, I think, just to be able to shop for the first time on a Sunday. The biggest challenge right now is trying to forecast what’s going to happen.”

Urbina noted a concern that opponents to the change had brought up. Only time will tell if Sunday liquor sales will increase profits, or simply draw sales from other days of the week, while necessitating more staffing hours each week.

“Is Sunday going to take from other days, or is it going to be a big selling day?” Urbina wondered. “I don’t believe that the weekend – Friday and Saturday – will be affected too much. [Sunday] could be a better sales day than we were expecting.”

Anyone who made a purchase at any of the city’s municipal liquor stores received a sticker, noting the occasion. Purchases over $60 earned patrons a T-shirt, emblazoned with “I [heart] EP.”

“We had over 1,100 actual tickets — 1,100 actual purchases made,” said Urbina. “It was a slightly higher average ticket, but we’re not sure if that had to do with the T-shirt promotion.”

Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), who was intrumental in pushing for the Sunday liquor sales bill in the state House of Representatives, handed out stickers to patrons at the Den Road location. A number of other city and school district officials also made appearances throughout the day.