Winona alcohol sales begin, not just stores profiting

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A store in Winona opened its doors to customers buying beer, and, in just a few days, wine and liquor will be sold. But, it is not just personal sales the town will profit from.

Marlee Harris says it was a big weekend as her store, the Wild Cat One Stop in Winona, started moving beer off its shelves.

"Beer and pretzels and cowboys," said Harris.

Beer may have been the only beverage football fans could buy, but it did not stop customers from coming in.

"It was wonderful," said Harris. "It was exciting! We did more business than I thought we would."

"We will have wine, distilled spirits [and] liquor Thursday or Friday of this week," said Dwight Harris, a part-owner of Wild Cat One Stop.

As sales go up, Marlee Harris says her store is not the only one profiting. Sales taxes will go to the City of Winona and Smith County.

"I do know the taxes that we ran through Friday and Saturday, it is going to help a lot," said Harris.

Allan Cameron with TABC says it is just a matter of days before business starts booming for stores like the Harris'. Why? Because every restaurant in Smith County with a mixed beverage permit must start buying alcohol from Winona.

"The law says if there is a local distributor in the county, they have to purchase from them," said Cameron.

But since Wild Cat One Stop is the only distributor right now, Lieutenant Cameron says Smith County restaurants have some Leeway before making the switch.

"We allowed them if there is only one distributor in the county to go to another local distributor only because we don't want any price fixing going on," said Cameron.

This will all change in just a few days when the second liquor store opens its doors.

"I'm going ahead and telling them at this point in time based on the fact that the other permit is due to be issued immediately to go ahead and start negotiating," said Cameron.

Lieutenant Cameron says the two stores in Winona that have applied for distributor permits will also receive permits to deliver alcohol to restaurants.

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