Sunday sales begin in Dacula

DACULA -- For the first time on a Sunday, the lights will be kept on in the beer and wine aisle in Dacula.

Dacula is the latest city in Gwinnett to implement a November referendum of Sunday alcohol sales. It joins 10 other cities across the county to allow sales seven days a week.

"We didn't know if we could get things changed earlier than January, but Dec. 8 is the effective date," Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks said. "I think everyone has a right to buy what's legal."

Lilburn is the only major city that approved Sunday's sales referendum in November, but has not yet allowed sales. That could change Monday, if the City Council approves an ordinance allowing sales to begin next weekend.

Starting today, Dacula residents are able to purchase beer and wine from convenience and grocery stores in the city limits. They will also be able to order mixed drinks in restaurants thanks to a separate referendum.

"All my restaurateurs said that people would come in, order a mixed drink and left when they couldn't get one. I don't know how much money they really lost, but they say this will help them," Wilbanks said. "It's a horrible economic time and this is an economic development issue. I appreciate local and corporation businesses here, and I'm happy they invested their time in the community, so I want to help them."

Berkeley Lake residents approved the Sunday sales referendum, but have no local stores that currently exist in the city limits. Sunday sales could be allowed countywide if voters approve an ordinance impacting unincorporated Gwinnett in March.

Senior Writer Camie Young contributed to this story.