Rocky Patel said business at the Rossville Thriftway convenience store slows down on Sunday.
That’s when he sticks a cardboard sign to the beer cooler reminding customers they can’t buy alcohol.
“On Sunday, things die around here,” Mr. Patel said Thursday as a customer purchased two six packs of Budweiser Select beer.
Georgia lawmakers last week took back up debate a move that could change that.
Rep. Roger Williams, R-Dalton, added his old bill to a new one that already passed the House. If the bill passes, his amendment would give local voters the decision on whether to allow Sunday beer and wine sales in convenience stores and grocery stores.
Georgia is one of three states now with a prohibition on all Sunday alcohol sales. The others are Connecticut and Indiana.
The measure faces an uphill climb, though, with church groups rallying against it and Gov. Sonny Perdue hinting at a veto.
Phillip Cannon, education minister at First Baptist Church of Dalton, Ga., said he had worried the proposal would come up after Dalton voters in a 2006 referendum approved the sale of alcohol by the drink at restaurants in the city on Sunday.
Voters approved that measure with 2,415 votes in favor, and 2,093 in opposition.
“This is almost a progression of the road we are already on,” Mr. Cannon said. “That is the Sabbath. That is a day set aside for the purpose of holiness. To honor that is important.”
Not all church leaders are fighting Sunday sales.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church observes the Sabbath on Saturday.
“It’s obviously sold big time on Saturday. That doesn’t make the day any holier or not holier,” said Michael Lombardo, pastor of Ringgold Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“We are into people having individual freedom. If a grocery store wants to sell it and a person wants to buy it and destroy their brain cells, they can do it whenever they want to do it.”
Convenience store clerks like Mr. Patel said Georgians are already doing it, despite the state’s prohibition on Sunday sales.
His store in Rossville is a short drive from the Tennessee line and Sunday beer sales. He said the store loses cigarette and gas sales to the neighboring state, too.
“There is no point in putting all that money in Tennessee,” Mr. Patel said.
Richard Troutman sees a similar trend from behind the counter of the Little Corner Store in Ringgold, Ga. He often turns away customers who want to buy beer on Sunday, and watches as they drive away toward East Ridge, Tenn.
“It hurts, especially during football season, or right now with NASCAR. A lot of people like to drink beer and watch NASCAR,” Mr. Troutman said. “It would really help if we could sell on Sundays.”