May 1, 2007 by Joseph Krohn
New legislation on P.E.I. will allow stores to open Sunday starting later this month, and smaller store owners are worried about how it will affect their businesses. Norman Clow, who runs Clow’s Red and White in Hampshire, just outside of Charlottetown, said he hopes he has something to offer his customers they can’t get in the bigger stores, but he worries about the future of country stores. “For any everyday items, you know, they’re just going to go to town, because that’s where they’re going to be anyway,” said Clow. “They’re on the road, might as well slip into town. Everything’s open there, and forget about the little country stores.” Previously, stores could open only the four Sundays before Christmas but the new rules allow Sunday shopping from the Victoria Day weekend through Christmas. Only smaller stores could stay open year-round. The new law was passed during the fall session of the legislature, and will bring its first new Sunday opening May 20.
David Cooper, owner of Cooper’s Red and White in Belfast in the southeast of the Island, said his store has only opened on Sundays during the summer months. “I don’t think there’s any need of the big stores being open on Sunday,” said Cooper. “It’s hard on all of the small, local stores but that seems to be what they want. First thing you know, there’ll be no local stores and people will have to drive to Charlottetown every day of the week.” Cooper said he’s already suffering because of the bigger grocery chains and is worried Sunday shopping will make things even worse. (See my paper on the Sabbath at http://jkrohn.wordpress.com).