City of Minneapolis fines, threatens Surdyk's after Sunday liquor sales stunt

Star Tribune

Star Tribune

Like many liquor stores, Surdyk's didn't really want Sunday liquor sales legalized in Minnesota. 

But that fight is (finally) over, thanks to the overwhelming passage, with bipartisan majorities, of a bill to end the state's longstanding prohibition against Sunday sales. 

As proponents of the law argued, no liquor stores would be forced to open on a Sunday. This bill merely gives them the option to do so, if they chose. 

Surdyk's chose to do a rapid about-face, from opponent to opportunist, throwing open the door to Sunday sales some four months before the law goes into effect.

In an Instagram post published Sunday morning, the northeast booze fixture announced:

"Surdyk's has been the leader in the market for over 80 years, so Surdyk's Liquor Store and the Cheese Shop will be opening today on Sunday, March 12."

"Yes... you heard right!" they added.

Even fans were confused. Doesn't the law go into effect July 2? How is selling on Sunday before that date even legal? Aren't they going to get, like, in trouble?

Answers: That's right; it's not legal; yes, they're in trouble. Perhaps especially since owner Jim Surdyk seemed so cavalier about flouting the state timetable. Reached by the Star Tribune yesterday, Surdyk explained his decision to unilaterally kick off Sunday sales thusly: "We just decided to open up. We're here, we're busy, it's great. People are happy to be here."

Okay then! 

One group not pleased with their first experience of Sunday sales at Surdyk's: The City of Minneapolis, which announced late yesterday that Jim Surdyk had been warned "by phone and again in person" that he was breaking state law and city ordinance. (Minneapolis needs to lift its municipal-level Sunday ban before stores can open.) 

As punishment, the city is "in the process of issuing $3,500 in citations against Surdyk's." That amount alone was probably covered (and easily) by the throngs of customers who rushed to the store yesterday.

But the city's announcement threatened a much steeper penalty in the offing: The City will also pursue sanctions against the off-sale liquor license held by Surdyk's based on the owner's clear disregard of the law."