This was an issue that many storeowners in north-central Connecticut had faced: losing customers to Massachusetts liquor stores that have been open on Sundays since 2004.
‘‘If you drove up to Massachusetts on a Sunday, you used to see lines of cars outside package stores,’’ Alaimo says. ‘‘Now, it’s maybe four cars in the parking lots.’’
Those customers who used to hop over the border to get their liquor seem to be staying in state now that they have the option to buy on Sundays.
Data analysis from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, which lobbied on behalf of distillers and wholesalers in favor of the Sunday sales legislation, shows that Connecticut has substantially outperformed its northern neighbor in volume growth in recent months.
The council used data provided by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for the months between May and December — the seven months after the legislation passed, and the most recent for which there’s available data.
In that period, spirits, wine, and beer sales in Connecticut have increased by 4.6 percent, 4.7 percent, and 2.5 percent respectively, compared with the same period in 2011.
The same comparison in Massachusetts shows that sales for spirits, wine, and beer rose by 0.1 percent, 2.9 percent, and 0 percent, respectively.
Because Connecticut taxes liquor at a higher rate, these figures indicate that it’s the convenience of Sunday sales, rather than better prices that are driving the growth in this state, according to a report provided by Ben Jenkins, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council.
‘‘For years, Connecticut residents had to go to neighboring states where merchants selling alcoholic beverages were wide open for business,’’ Kevin B. Sullivan, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services, said in a release. ‘‘Connecticut lost business, lost sales, and lost taxes.’’
According to information reported to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services though January, the increased sales volume of alcohol resulted in an additional $1.3 million in excise taxes for the state.
However, adding liquor sales on Sundays and some holidays was supposed to bring in an additional $4.3 million yearly in excise and sale taxes, according to legislative budget analysts.
Liquor storeowners like Andreo and Silkowski who aren’t so close to the state line haven’t seen a jump in their own sales.
‘‘Our ring totals are way down,’’ Andreo says, meaning that people are buying less each time they come in, as compared with last year.
‘‘If anything, people actually used to over-buy on Saturday,’’ Silkowski says, ‘‘because they knew they wouldn’t be able to come on Sunday. We’re just not seeing that anymore.’’
Both Andreo and Silkowski say they saw diluted sales over the normally busy Memorial Day weekend last year as well.
‘‘It took three days — Saturday, Sunday, and Monday — over the holiday weekend to (sell) what we did on just Saturday the year before,’’ Andreo recalls.
For Alaimo in Enfield, however, that holiday weekend was significantly more fruitful.
‘‘I doubled what I did’’ before the Sunday sales legislation went into effect, he says.
For their part, neither Andreo nor Silkowski plans to cut back hours in the future.
‘‘The toothpaste is out of the tube,’’ Andreo says.