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Reaction to liquor by drink vote is mixed
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Richmond Hill restaurant owners and church leaders expressed mixed reactions following Tuesday’s passage of a referendum allowing restaurants within city limits to serve alcohol on Sundays.

Pastor Carlton Cooper of Bethel Baptist Church said he was "disappointed" by the election results.

"We would have liked to see the vote go the other way," he said. "It sets a poor example and shows no respect for our beliefs as Christians, but apparently a lot of people don’t see it that way. I guess we’ll just have to see if there will be any long term effects on the community, either positive or negative."

Daniel Cloutier, owner of Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub and Grill, was "absolutely ecstatic" that the referendum had passed.

"It gives me a chance to be open on Sundays, which is important because of the extra revenue," he said. "Richmond Hill is losing revenue because people are going to Chatham County to eat instead of staying here. It’s going to open up a lot of opportunities for new restaurants to come into Richmond Hill, even chains. Some people don’t like it, but I think it’s great because it will bring in more people who will spend money here."

Chris Miller, owner of Smoke House Southern Grill, was concerned that allowing Sunday alcohol sales would effectively remove a major barrier that had previously kept chain restaurants out of Richmond Hill.

"I think it will bring in a lot more chain restaurants that will hurt the local people," he said. "From what I’ve heard, there were some who planned to come in here that didn’t because there were no Sunday alcohol sales."

But Georgia Goolsby, owner of Beef O’ Brady’s, disagreed.

"It will help sales in general for all restaurants," she said. "A lot of restaurants [in Richmond Hill] are closed on Sundays because they can’t afford to stay open. The majority of people go into Savannah on Sundays. If we get more competition, it will also help the community."

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