Last month the Beverage Board announced it would consider at its February meeting changing the time beer sales could take place on Sunday, going from noon to 8 a.m. The proposal came about when a couple of convenience store owners requested the change in order to better compete with Bristol stores during the spring and fall races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bristol allows beer sales to begin at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
However, Tom Parham, Beverage Board chair, said the board agreed this week to table the issue.
"The subject was brought up because a convenience store operator asked us to look at it. And what we did, we considered a lot of factors but realized the main driver to open up beer sales on Sunday - and it would have to be throughout the city - would really be for the convenience of our visitors," Parham said. "We surveyed and talked to various hotel operators and various convenience store operators, and bottom line, they all told us there is no problem. They just do not have a demand from their customers to be able to buy beer on Sunday."
Interim Kingsport Police Chief Gale Osborne talked to his counterparts in Bristol, Johnson City and Sullivan County, and Parham said they did not encourage Kingsport to go through with the change.
"Some said it really didn't make any difference. Some said it's good to have a break in the week and not worry about that," Parham said. "So there was no compelling reason there."
The third consideration undertaken by the Beverage Board was listening to the community, Parham said.
"We did have some spirited push back from some folks, and we just felt like there was not enough demand to warrant doing it," Parham said. "Most people are silent, but we did have some folks that said we really shouldn't have any sales at all and this was a step in the wrong direction."
Parham said the board prides itself on being responsible and progressive when dealing with such issues, and adds the issue could be brought back at a later date.
"But there's no real push to do it," he said. "It just wasn't worth the hassle."