Approval of beer and wine sales will mean changes for local businesses and
spending habits of consumers who have been traveling outside the county to buy
alcohol for more than 70 years.
Businesses across the county line and relatively new markets in Smith County towns, such as Winona and Troup, will likely experience negative effects while businesses in Tyler and Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 expect to expand and benefit.
A.J. Johnson, owner of A.J.'s Place in Troup, which began as a cigarette shack and now sells beer, wine and liquor, said it's too early to figure margins and percentages regarding how legalization of beer and wine sales in Tyler and Precinct 2 will affect him. But he said he doesn't expect losses to be severe.
"My business doesn't just rely on beer, so I don't think it will hurt us much," he said. "We'll still have liquor and the coldest beer in the county, so I think customers will continue to buy here."
Officials in Coffee City, which straddles Texas Highway 155 on Lake Palestine along the Henderson-Smith county line, said the introduction of beer and wine sales to Tyler would not be as detrimental as the precinct going wet, based on proximity.
Mayor Tony Moore said city sales tax revenues will take a hit, but he does not expect beer and wine sales in Tyler to break the town.
Moore said calculations showed a 2 percent to 4 percent drop in sales tax revenues after towns such as Jacksonville and Troup began selling beer, wine and liquor. The city received $337,335 in sales tax revenue last year, according to state comptroller data.
Complete but unofficial results Tuesday show voters approved Proposition 2 in Tyler, which will legalize beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption within city limits, 66.55 percent to 33.45 percent. In JP Precinct 2, beer and wine sales passed 16,695 votes to 8,850 votes, or 65.36 percent to 34.64 percent.
Officials said it would be 45-60 days before six packs and wine will be on store shelves in Tyler and JP Precinct 2.
Johnson said he will monitor the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's website, which posts license applicants. He said knowing the location and size of the business that applies will give him a better idea about an impact to his business.
More businesses "just spreads (sales) out more," he said.
City of Tyler spokeswoman Susan Guthrie said the city is expecting more than 100 applications for permits. She said businesses had already been making inquiries about the process.
Bullard City Manager Larry Morgan said he expects passage in JP Precinct 2 to spread sales and sales tax revenue, too. He said he expects existing businesses to apply for beer and wine permits, but he doesn't expect big gains for the city.
Morgan said the city does not expect a windfall of tax revenues because "Every convenience store between here and Tyler will sell." He said the city could see a temporary bump in revenues from businesses expanding their stores to accommodate beer and wine.
The Bullard Brookeshire's store would likely see the most benefit, Morgan said, because it draws shoppers from around the area.
Rebecca Sanders, director of public relations for Brookshire Grocery Co., said Brookshire's is in the process of obtaining proper permits to sell beer
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