Weaver welcomes two new business with drinks on Sunday
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Aug 02, 2013 | 4065 views |  0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Smokin' Joe's Discount Tobacco and Beverages, which was officially annexed into Weaver on Thursday, can sell these bottles of liquor on Sundays beginning this weekend. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Smokin' Joe's Discount Tobacco and Beverages, which was officially annexed into Weaver on Thursday, can sell these bottles of liquor on Sundays beginning this weekend. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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WEAVER — Last Sunday, Heroes Bar and Grille on Alabama 21 was in Calhoun County. This Sunday, it also will be in Weaver.

It means this Sunday, owner Marc Spaulding is going to sell alcohol.

“I’m running around like crazy today making sure we’re going to be ready,” Spaulding said on Friday. “We’re having all the staff come in because we don’t know how busy it’ll be, but we think we’re going to have a pretty big crowd.”

It’s been three months since legislation passed allowing Weaver, a city of fewer than 3,000 residents, to sell alcohol on Sundays. But legislation annexing Heroes, along with nearby Smokin’ Joes Discount Tobacco and Beverages, into the city just took effect Thursday.

“Everybody’s excited,” said Poonam Vakharia, an employee at Smokin’ Joes, while ringing up a customer Friday. “People love it because they have to go all the way to Anniston to buy beer on Sundays. Now, they can come here.”

Outside of Anniston, Weaver is the only spot in Calhoun County to buy beer, wine or liquor on Sundays. But while restaurants and businesses in Anniston earlier this year were quick to embrace selling alcohol an extra day each week, the fanfare in neighboring Weaver was quieter, said Mayor Wayne Willis.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big change,” Willis said. “I think you see it’s a big deal when it starts, then once it wears off, things kind of get back to normal.”

The time lag between the legalization of Sunday sales and the inclusion of Heroes, the only restaurant selling alcohol in Weaver, in the city limits has likely already dulled some excitement, Willis said.

But at the only place in town that sold beer on Sundays prior to the new annexation – the Bearcat Express on Main Street – not even that initial boom ever happened, said owner Jeff Christopher.

“I don’t look at my sales every month and say ‘Oh my God, I’m making so much money,’” Christopher said with a laugh. “It took Saturday’s sales, and everything leveled out.”

But Spaulding said he thinks he has a leg up on businesses in Anniston that didn’t sustain a big Sunday crowd months after the novelty of drinking beer on Sundays wore off.

“We’re more of a sports bar out here,” Spaulding said. And with 18 televisions that he said can show every NFL football game on Sundays starting next month, he doesn’t think the crowds will thin out in the future.

“If you play fantasy football, we’re going to be the place to be,” Spaulding said. “And all the big sporting events, NASCAR, golf, those happen on Sunday.”

Location, too, is another big pull. Vakharia said Smokin Joes’ site on Alabama 21 makes it ideal for Sunday shoppers traveling back and forth between the northern and southern parts of the county.

“We think we’re going to be very busy,” Vakharia said. “We’ve told so many people who said they’ll be here.”

It’s a perfect spot to be, Vakharia said, unless another Calhoun County city wants to get in on the seven-day alcohol sales action.

“I’m sure it’ll probably be better for those guys out there on the highway,” Christopher said. “At least until Jacksonville does it.”

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