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Holiday change raises spirits

County Legislature lifts retail wine and liquor restrictions

Personal Wine Cellar Manager Ernie Darrah, left, and Owner Brian Craig had petitioned the Schenectady County Legislature to ease restrictions placed on holiday alcohol sales. On Tuesday, March 13, the legislature unanimously approved the change.

Personal Wine Cellar Manager Ernie Darrah, left, and Owner Brian Craig had petitioned the Schenectady County Legislature to ease restrictions placed on holiday alcohol sales. On Tuesday, March 13, the legislature unanimously approved the change. Submitted photo

— On an average day at Klump’s store on Mohawk Avenue, he collects around $200 worth of sales tax for the county. On peak days, which the holidays are expected to be, he collects from $400 to $750 in sales tax.

“The county is losing somewhere between $1,500 to $2,000 in sales tax as my regular customers drive past my closed store on their way to Saratoga County to purchase their holiday wines and spirits,” he said.

Darrah said not every storeowner will want to open their doors on the holidays, but he would gladly open his.

John Sabol, owner of Country Wine & Spirits, said the wine and liquor business is very concentrated around the holidays.

“Around the holiday time, we do a majority of our business,” Sabol said. “This law will not only put money into the tax coffers for Schenectady County, it will put money into our pockets as small businesses people as well — I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”

The New York State Liquor Authority still needs to hold a hearing on the change.

Legislator Martin Finn, D-Glenville, said he thought it was important to support county business and approve the change.

“They are at a competitive disadvantage to the counties close to us,” Finn said. “Those last minute shoppers like me have to go out and get their party favors, but they have to go somewhere else to do it.”

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