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Frustration, Discombobulation, or Just Plain Drunk with Furor?

By Glenn Collins
Thursday, June 17, 2010 | 1:34 PM

"I'm tired of people telling me I'm going to hell if I sell alcohol; do they have a job for me?" One convenience store worker expressing frustration as the city and its businesses await the ordinance for alcohol sales. With the vote over and many convenience store employees and owners being cajoled, harrassed and otherwise preached to, the real battle will be over enacting an ordinance. Half of the convenience stores in Haleyville are undecided about selling alcohol until they see the ordinance. In the meantime, some have expressed their frustration at the attitude of some their customers. "Yes, there is controversy," one owner said. "They tell me they won't shop here anymore if I sell beer, yet they'll drive to Florence and eat at a restaurant that does sell it," the owner added.

A poll* of convenience stores in Haleyville shows that 33% intend to sell alcohol, 17% intend not to sell alcohol, but 50% of store owners/managers say that they are undecided.

Mayor Ken Sunseri said that the City is working on the ordinance. "It's a very detailed process and I want to ensure the ordinance is as complete and thorough as possible; I want to make sure it is right," he said. Sunseri is not in any rush. His primary concern is developing an ordinance that is thorough, complete, absent any loopholes and legal. He pointed out Arab's alcohol ordinance as an example. That city needed as many pages to amend its ordinance as there were pages in the original ordinance. There will be no rush to completion.

Wal-Mart is not in the convenience category, but manager Ken Farr said, "Wal-Mart does not sell alcohol in stores that are not designated as 'Supercenters.'"

*The poll was conducted in person June 14 - 17, 2010. Over 90% of convenience stores operating within the city limits were contacted and the response rate was 100%. The only record of the poll is the response of the business. No names were recorded, either for the poll itself or the resulting story. Wal-Mart was not included in the poll.

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