Businesses, Shoppers Respond to North Dakota’s Blue Law Repeal
retailers can start opening before noon on saturday on August 4
FARGO, N.D. — When it comes to owning a business, timing can be everything.
“Especially when we have stores trying to compete with online. We have small businesses that are trying to make sure they’re available to people as often as they can be. That Sunday I think is huge,” said Amber Sander, Boots & Heels owner.
Store owners across North Dakota are getting plenty more after Gov. Burgum signed the “Blue Law” House Bill 1097 Monday, which reverses regulations that close most retailers from midnight to noon on Sundays. The bill takes effect on August 1st, meaning the first Sunday businesses can be open on Sunday mornings is August 4th. He says it provides a “more level playing field” for businesses to compete with those online retailers and bordering states.
“We have so many visitors that come through on Sundays whether they’re from Canada or just they’re driving through Fargo. There are so many people who say time and time again they wish we were open earlier or they can’t believe how little downtown shopping there is to do on a Sunday even later on in the day,” said Ashlen Morken, Unglued owner.
But even some customers like that they’ll be getting some more convenience.
“It’s great because sometimes you don’t want to drive all the way to Moorhead. It’ll be nice to do some shopping in Fargo and West Fargo,” said Erin Knudtson of Fargo.
“It’s about time. I think it’s kind of an antiquated idea and for those of us that work full time, it’ll be nice. I’ve gone to Walmart and I’ve forgotten like ‘oh they don’t open. You think they’re open 24 hours a day but not Sunday morning,” said Susan Grass of Fargo.
Some retailers say the repeal has been a long time coming because they believe the law was outdated. They’re hoping the change will help them see an uptick in business as a result.
“As more and more people do start to be open on Sunday’s whether it’s driven by the blue laws and they can open earlier or not, it’ll certainly drive more traffic downtown too,” Morken said.
“They don’t have to shop on Sunday either if they don’t want to so I hope we all live and let live a little bit and the people that want to be able to come out shopping Sunday can and the people that want to spend Sunday with their family at home, that’s ok too,” Sander said.
North Dakota’s Catholic Conference says they believe the Senate rejected what they call “part of what makes North Dakota a great place for families and workers.”
Officials at Holy Cross, Hope Lutheran and Bethel Churches say they don’t believe attendance at their services will be affected by the blue law repeal.