THAYER -- Liquor stores traditionally have above average sales during the long Memorial Day Weekend and this year that trend continued even though totals were down slightly from a year ago.
Thayer, Mo., is located along a major U.S. highway and also borders dry counties located in Arkansas. Because of this location, the town benefits from sales of alcoholic beverages to tourists traveling to several destinations in the area, as well as from dry-county residents who must cross the "border" to purchase their chosen beverage.
Three local liquor stores in Thayer were visited last week about their sales during the long Memorial Weekend.
One business manager said, Memorial weekend was the biggest weekend of the year for them with sales, followed by July 4th. "By Labor Day things start to slow down a little bit," she said.
She said sales were probably up 25 to 50 percent over a normal weekend and that it was mostly tourist generated business.
"Then, we of course have the local folks who don't usually party who might buy a beverage over the long weekend," she said.
She said gas prices have probably affected their business some and it has seemed slower this year than in years past.
"We try every year to surpass what we did the previous Memorial weekend. This year we didn't do it," she said.
Another local liquor store manager said his sales were down some but not a whole lot.
"Our product sales are down on the average but from year to year we should be OK. What I noticed Memorial weekend was the sale of the Lottery was way up," he said.
"Older people in their 70s and 80s say when the economy is bad people tend to drink more. In our area where our average income is $20,000 to $30,000 a year we have to watch our Ps and Qs. The tourist who come through here are making $100,000 to $140,000 a year. We have a lot of people through the store in their 20s and early 30s that are still free and have not married and can spend money the way they want. Us middle age people in our 40s and 50s have families and have to watch our spending," he said. He added that probably 50 percent of the sales in his store over the weekend were generated by tourists.
A third liquor store contacted said their sales might have been down a little bit on Friday, but other than that, they had a fairly good weekend.
The store manager said he did notice that store patrons were buying cheaper brands of beer and thought that probably had something to do with higher fuel prices.
He said most of his sales over the long holiday weekend were from Arkansas people and some people camped on the river.
"When the weather starts getting warmer we sell more beer. In the winter months we sell more liquor. I have noticed that people are buying more quantity when they come into the store. This means less travel for them, saving them the cost of gas," he said.