Open for business: Blue law repeal takes effect Aug. 4
Sunday, Aug. 4th, marks the first day that businesses in North Dakota may be open from midnight to noon on a Sunday, following the repeal of North Dakota’s so-called “blue law” during the last legislative session.
North Dakota's blue law, which prohibited shopping on Sunday mornings, was slowly chipped away over the years to include exemptions for businesses like gas stations and grocery stores. But the full repeal of the blue law, which takes effect Aug. 1., opened up retail shopping across the board.
Some local businesses in Jamestown, which were previously prohibited from opening before noon on Sundays, will be changing their Sunday hours beginning in August.
The Walmart Supercenter in Jamestown will be open from midnight to noon on Sunday mornings, meaning the shopping center will now be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Tim Curtis, store manager.
This will not require significant changes to the store’s current staffing, he said.
“We already staffed like we were open on Sundays, because all of our stocking is done on overnight,” Curtis said. “So just having that ability to check customers out (on Sunday) is the only thing that will change.”
There will also be some changes at the Buffalo Mall in Jamestown. While the Buffalo Mall will continue to open its front doors before noon on Sunday to accommodate early morning “mall walkers,” as the mall has always done, some of the stores within the mall will now be open for business before noon as well, said Bev Dawson, Buffalo Mall manager.
The decision of whether to open for business before noon on Sunday will be left up to each individual store owner, Dawson said.
“Access to the building is open, but each individual store is different on Sunday,” she said.
Home of Economy, which anchors one side of the Buffalo Mall, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays beginning in August, said Kelsey McNally, assistant manager for Home of Economy in Jamestown.
Local store managers for T.J. Maxx, which anchors the other side of the Buffalo Mall, indicated that their store would also be opening before noon on Sundays starting in August, but they declined to offer further comment. Corporate officials for T.J. Maxx did not return a request for official comment on Friday.
Dunham’s Sports, another retail store in the Buffalo Mall, does not have any plans to change its Sunday hours.
“For right now, I believe the plan is to stick with current hours,” said Michael Martin, assistant store manager for Dunham’s Sports in Jamestown.
Menards in Jamestown will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays beginning in August, said Justin Rikkola, assistant store manager for Menards in Jamestown.
Several local retailers have not yet made a decision about whether to take advantage of the blue law repeal.
“We’re still reviewing what we’re going to be doing on that,” Matthew Householder, district manager of the Dollar Tree store in Jamestown, said on Friday.
As of Friday, no decision from corporate had been handed down to the Maurices store in Jamestown, said Brittany Ogren, assistant store manager for the Maurices in Jamestown.
“We have not heard anything yet,” she said.
Three car dealerships in Jamestown have made the decision to stay closed all day on Sundays. R.M. Stoudt of Jamestown will not be opening on Sundays, said owner Casey Stoudt. Lloyds Toyota in Jamestown will not be opening on Sundays, said Scott Krein, the new car manager at Lloyds Toyta. And Don Wilhelm, Inc., will not be opening on Sundays, said co-owner Rod Wilhelm.
All three dealerships indicated that their decision was made, in part, to give employees a day off on Sundays. There were also practical concerns with conducting car sales on Sundays.
“As car dealers we rely on banks for financing, and they’re all closed on Sundays,” Wilhelm said. “We also have to allow our people some time off."