Just off Kansas Highway 18 in the city of Ogden stands a quaint and humble liquor store. Though its close walls have only housed alcoholic beverages for five years, the three-employee mom-and-pop shop has provided a big service to the small town, as well as members of the surrounding communities for the past two years.
Pit Stop Discount Liquor is the only liquor-licensed store in the cities of Ogden and Manhattan that is open — and thriving — on Sundays.
Isom Morgan, Pit Stop owner, said by staying open seven days a week, he is providing a community service.
“I had so many requests from the community asking me if we could stay open on Sundays,” Morgan said. “I could use that day off, but it’s what the people wanted.”
But getting the OK from the city was no simple task.
Morgan said it took two years of lobbying the Odgen city council to obtain the rights to distribute on the traditionally sober sale day. When the proposition first was presented to the city, Morgan said it failed — and quickly. But during the next two years, he and members of the community continued to voice their concerns to members of the city council, and when it was presented again in 2006, Morgan said the proposition passed unanimously, 5-0.
“They just wanted me to make sure before I opened, members of the church across the street were home,” he said.
More than just Ogden residents were happy about the Sunday-seller, since many K-State students flock to Pit Stop at the start of the week to reap its benefits.
“I love it when K-State students come,” Morgan said. “A lot of the time when they have that Monday off, I see a lot more of them. All around, it’s better when the students do come.”
He said his excitement is for two reasons: meeting new people and increased sales.
Morgan said on an average weekday, Pit Stop will sell to about 65 customers. But on Sundays, that number more than doubles. Morgan said he will see about 200 people on average each Sunday. But it’s not the money he really cares about — it’s being able to provide the communities, both Odgen and Manhattan, with what they want, he said.
Morgan said he bought the space after he had retired from working at Fort Riley and turned it into a liquor store because he was looking for an investment opportunity. Pit Stop became the most popular, and only, liquor store in Ogden.
“We’re the only one in town, so there’s no competition,” he said. “If they opened up a liquor store there in Manhattan on Sundays, the bars would be mad, and if one liquor store opened, they all would have to open,” he said.
But in the small town of Ogden, Morgan said he is able to get to know his customers, which is something he would not be able to do as well in Manhattan, and also take a few liberties with his sales.
Pit Stop sells all of its items at a floor price that includes tax. This, he said, makes it easier for him and the customer to see exactly how much they will be paying before they get to the cash register — no mystery tax. He said Kansas liquor tax is 8 percent, and he adjusts his prices accordingly.
Though Pit Stop never runs sales, Morgan said his prices never fluctuate either.
“My prices are front-line prices,” he said. “I don’t have sales because we’re a mom-and-pop store. There’s no need. But my prices never go up, either.”
Scott Sauber, junior in construction science, said he frequents Pit Stop on Sundays when there is an all-university holiday on Monday or when special occasions, like birthdays, arise. Though the prices are slightly higher than those found in Manhattan, Sauber said it is worth the price and the 15-minute drive if students are in need of a “Sunday Funday.”
“Their prices are higher, but we’re just paying for the extra convenience for being open on Sundays, so it evens out. You just kind of got to accept it,” he said.
For K-State students wishing to make the drive on Sundays, Pit Stop is open from 1 to 8 p.m. Beer, wine and spirits can be purchased at the store, and kegs can be ordered no later than the Friday before the desired Sunday.
“People have a right to drink,” Morgan said. “Being closed on Sundays isn’t stopping anybody from drinking … that’s why we’re open.”