• November 28, 2014

Alcohol flowing in Gatesville, but impact of sales unknown

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Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:53 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

GATESVILLE — Customers at Pruitt’s Convenience Store at 1316 Highway 36 North have noticed a new drive-thru lane at the back of the building where, for the first time in the store’s 20-year history, a six-pack of cold beer or a bottle of wine can be bought.

A month after Gatesville voters endorsed alcohol sales in the city, store owner Kyle Pruitt obtained a state license to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

He opened the drive-thru on Jan. 17.

“Business has been as good or better than we expected,” Pruitt said. “We haven’t done a lot of advertising. People know about it by word-of-mouth.”

With just two months of sales, it is too early to tell what the long-term impact of the drive-thru will be, he said.

The election legalized the sale of mixed drinks in restaurants as well as beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

Pruitt’s is one of 16 Gatesville businesses to obtain a license, according to records from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Two large chain stores — Walmart and H-E-B — were poised to start selling beer and wine just weeks after the election. Both stores contributed to the campaign to pass the alcohol measures.

El Tapatio, with mixed-drink licenses for two restaurants in Gatesville, has started serving alcohol at its location at 1509 W. Main St.

Patrons there can now order a margarita or cerveza with their fajitas or enchiladas.

Owner Gustavo Perez said he has only been serving drinks for two or three weeks, and it is too soon to tell how it will affect his business.

Perez said the second El Tapatio restaurant, at 1509 E. Main St., is adding another restroom before it will start serving mixed drinks.

Proponents of the ballot measures touted increased sales tax revenues from the alcohol sales, but so far there has been no dramatic rise in the city’s revenues, according to figures from the state comptroller’s office.

Opponents of the measures predicted a rise in alcohol-related crime, but so far there has been little impact, Police Chief Nathan Gohlke said.

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