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updated: 1/2/2014 3:09 PM

Should car dealers be allowed to open on Sundays?

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  • Jim Oberweis

      Jim Oberweis

  • Zimmerman Ford's owner, Jack Zimmerman, doesn't want car dealerships to be allowed to open Sundays.

      Zimmerman Ford's owner, Jack Zimmerman, doesn't want car dealerships to be allowed to open Sundays.
    File photo

 
 

Jack Zimmerman thinks his employees need and deserve Sundays off.

Zimmerman, the owner of Zimmerman Ford in St. Charles, is in a business where state law bans him from selling cars on Sundays. In the mid-1980s, lawmakers made the law at the behest of the industry.

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Zimmerman said the rule lets him give his people a break without worrying the nearby Chevy dealer will be open Sunday selling cars.

"We want fresher and better prepared employees," Zimmerman said.

But what about the consumer that really wants to buy a car on Sunday?

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, has filed legislation to allow car dealers to open on Sundays.

He says his logic is simple: Politicians shouldn't tell businesses when they can be open, and the state law is "pushing the limits of where government belongs."

After all, he says, the state doesn't tell the competitors of Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A, which close on Sundays, not to open.

"We would laugh," Oberweis said of asking other craft stores to close. "And yet that's exactly what we do."

Oberweis' legislation could get its first real look when lawmakers return to Springfield later in the month.

The proposal wouldn't require dealerships to open, but Zimmerman said as soon as one nearby auto lot opened on Sundays, others would have to follow suit.

"It's a competition thing," Zimmerman said. Plus, he argued, a sale would be tough to complete on a Sunday because banks that handle financing aren't open.

Oberweis is running in the March 18 Republican primary for U.S. Senate against Doug Truax of Downers Grove, Armen Alvarez of Chicago and William Lee of Rockton.

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