Winona residents looking forward to changes after wet/dry vote

By Taylor Hemness - email

WINONA, TX (KLTV) - J.W. Royal has lived in Winona for the last 14 years, but he says the last few months have been some of the most tense he can remember.

"I think it's time for our small town of Winona to unite and come back together, and start getting things done in Winona," Royal said. "It's over with. Winona, come back together."

Royal didn't want to share his vote, but he does think the results will mean money coming into the community.

Another Winona resident was happy to say why he voted for the proposition.

"Personal reasons," said Chris Harris. "I'm just that much closer to the beer store, you know?"

Harris just closed down his movie store business in Winona because business was so slow. But, he thinks this vote will mean more business for the existing stores, and maybe more stores, too.

"Maybe it'll open up some restaurants and places for people to work," Harris said. "Income for the town itself, taxes for the school...all that you know."

And, not only does Harris think that his town will prosper, but he sees other East Texas towns taking a hit.

"I see possibly a lot of downfall for all the surrounding liquor and beer stores," Harris said.

Several of those stores, like Two Rivers Grocery & Market, are in Big Sandy. Lyne Pickens at Two Rivers says the store might lose some customers, but it will be important for stores outside of Winona to sell things other than alcohol.

"I think the majority of our customers will still come here," Pickens said. "I think they'll return for the meat market, and as they shop, they'll pick up the other things they need while they're here."

The TABC says that if a distributor were to set up in Winona as a local distributor, all restaurants in Smith County that have a mixed beverage permit would have to buy their alcohol from that distributor.