Maurice Samaha was an outspoken opponent of opening his on Sunday.
No question about it. He smiles when he admits this, because he remembers the meeting he hosted of liquor store owners who opposed it. How can you get more business from the same number of people? He couldn't see it working. Either Sunday steals business from Saturday or it steals business from Monday.
On Sunday by 3:30 p.m., he was very conflicted. He really wanted to close by 4 p.m. and go sit in the sun. But customers came in steadily since 10 a.m. He's out of Corona and he's out of the smaller size Coronitas, and this was the first Sunday liquor had been sold legally in Connecticut since 1919, the beginning of Prohibition.
When people ask for Heinekens, Samaha was all smiles. Bud? Sure, he's got that. He'll have Coronas on Monday, but he wasn't prepared for such a busy weekend of beer sales.
"I thought my Saturday would be hurt. It wasn't," Samaha said, and when a customer asked how Sunday was going, he said, "We've been busy, yes."
"Last night I was thinking I'd go to the store, but I worked all day," said Ray Felice of Danbury. "I was thinking I'd be driving to Brewster, but I'm glad I don't have to go."
Felice said the last time he drove to Brewster on a beer run, he got pulled over, field tested for intoxication and the police let him go when he passed the test and he showed the officer he hadn't opened any of the beers. He didn't want to run that gauntlet again.
Another customer, Rob Tancredi of Library Place spent the morning landscaping, and he walked down to White Street for some beer he forgot to buy Saturday.
"The door's open, welcoming me in," Tancredi said, "Not only can you come on down and keep the money in Connecticut, you also get met by the owner."
"I'm really sort-of amazed right now," Samaha said. "I hate to say it, but it's very successful."
Samaha said he and the distributors have to work out the kinks in the system, such as Saturday deliveries of Coronas, which are not yet working. He will have to stock his shelves more carefully for bright sunny Sundays.