NIBLEY An oversight in the small town of Nibley has set off a chain of events that could prompt more Cache County towns to allow beer sales on Sundays.
Because Nibley accidentally failed to outlaw Sunday beer sales when the town revised its ordinances in 2002, the Maverik Country Store at 3090 S. Main was allowed to sell beer on Sundays when it opened in October. Responding to complaints from a competing convenience store, the nearby town of Hyrum in early December OK'd Sunday beer sales.
Now, Logan's mayor expects stores in the county's largest city will want to sell beer on Sundays.
"They're going to say, 'Why can't we?' and then we'll evaluate it," Randy Watts said. "It's going to have a ripple effect all the way across the valley."
Although some Cache County restaurants have sold alcoholic beverages on Sundays for years, city and county ordinances have forced those seeking to buy beer from stores on Sundays to drive west to neighboring Box Elder County or north to Franklin, Idaho.
But some people in conservative Cache County oppose Sunday beer sales. Cache Valley was settled by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which prohibits consumption of alcohol, tobacco and coffee.
Craig Rasmussen, the only member of the Hyrum City Council to vote against allowing Sunday beer sales, called it a moral issue although not necessarily an LDS issue.
"Honoring the Sabbath is important whatever religion you are," Rasmussen said. "Alcohol consumption is a long way from what I would consider making Sunday a special day."
Besides, Rasmussen said, alcohol threatens public health and safety.
"There are a lot of problems associated with alcohol a lot more problems than benefits," he said. "Anything we can do to discourage purchasing or discouraging alcohol use on Sunday or any other day is a positive step."
But Mayor Dean Howard said the majority of council members were concerned about Hyrum stores having a competitive disadvantage. People who buy beer on Sundays also buy other goods, he said.
"It wasn't just the beer," he said. "People stop where they can get everything at one stop."
Kerstin Hansen, assistant manager of the Nibley Maverik, said people buying beer also buy gasoline, candy, cigarettes and other items. She said beer sales boomed the first Sunday the store was open but have leveled off.
Logan's Mayor Watts said he wouldn't stand in the way of stores wanting to sell beer on Sundays, although it's ultimately a Municipal Council decision.
"We need to try to stay neutral and give them the opportunity to make a dollar," Watts said.
Meanwhile, Nibley's Sundays of selling beer may be limited. The City Council will likely consider banning Sunday beer sales next year, City Manager Larry Anhder said. He said taxes from Sunday beer sales haven't been significant.
Although some Nibley residents have complained about Sunday beer sales, Anhder said he isn't aware of people buying beer on Sundays causing problems.
"They come and go home and watch football games and drink beer," he said.Besides, Maverik's Hansen said, "Just because we sell beer doesn't mean you have to buy it."