Oxford voters may soon decide Sunday alcohol question

Oxford to consider Sunday alcohol sales

OXFORD, AL (WBRC) - Oxford voters may soon get to decide if they will be able to buy alcohol on Sundays, despite other parts of the county being able to do so for some time.

In the past, there weren’t enough votes on the council and most councilors were against the idea, saying it made their city special.

But Mellow Mushroom owner Cindy Phillis says she has seen literally hundreds of customers turn around and walk out, to “head a mile up the road” to Anniston restaurants that serve alcohol on Sunday.

“St. Patrick’s Day is on Sunday this year. The Super Bowl is always on Sunday, Sunday football,” Phillis said about lost business opportunities at the Oxford pizza parlor.

“They have mimosas, Sunday breakfast pizza at other Mellow Mushrooms, and people come in to ask us why we don’t do that here,” Phillis added. “They’re shocked.”

Some 130 people attended a council meeting a few months ago to study the idea. Council member Chris Spurlin remembered most of those who spoke were against the idea.

Fellow council member Charlotte Hubbard remembers it differently, saying many of those who spoke in favor often represented multiple people, such as a local grocers’ association.

Hubbard introduced a resolution at the council’s last meeting, to request the mayor ask the legislative delegation to approve a referendum to let Oxford voters decide the matter at the polls. It passed unanimously.

“I had a group of people who brought a petition to me with 155 signatures on it. Up at the top it said they live in Oxford and they were voters and they wanted, they thought we should vote on this matter,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard herself owns a restaurant that serves alcohol but says she makes very little money off of it and doesn’t expect to make a lot more.

Terry Phillis, the general manager of Mellow Mushroom and father-in-law of the owner, says the beneficiaries of Sunday alcohol, besides grocery and convenience stores, are restaurants like his who serve drivers from out of town who arrive on I-20. He says they serve food first and alcohol second, but says he’s seen his restaurant lose customers on Sundays.

Once the legislature approves the referendum, there’s no word on when voters will be able to have their say.

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