Appleby business owners petitioning city council to allow alcohol sales

APPLEBY, TX (KTRE) - For years, it's been pretty much the norm for Appleby residents in Nacogdoches County to drive somewhere to legally purchase beer and wine. That could change this year.

Petitioners may know as soon as tomorrow night when the issue will be presented to voters.

From the outside, The Niche looks like the perfect place to pull up for a six-pack of beer, but its co-owner says, right now that isn't the case.

"Right now, it's soft drinks, tea those type of beverages," said Damon Yates, the co-owner of The Niche. "We're not allowed to sale any alcoholic beverages."

The Niche is located just a few miles down the road from the lake for which it's named. Yates said he wants to please the customer.

"We get a lot of people that would like to come and buy beer and we just think it would be a lot safer to drive here than it would be 15-20 miles into town and have to drive back," Yates said. "I'm afraid they'll be drinking on the way back.

The same persuasive approach was used by the petition's organizer, Eddie Luquette, when he was seeking signatures on a petition for an election to legalize the sale of beer and wine in Appleby.

"We got about 113 signatures," Luquette said. "We can get more but the whole key is we've got the 35 percent that's needed to do the vote."

The petition will be presented to the council tomorrow night. Organizers are asking the issue be presented to the voters in November.  Passage means sales tax revenue.

"An average store like this you're looking at 25 to 30,000 a year, maybe a little bit more than that and the whole key it goes back into the county and it gets trickled down into the city," Luquette said.

Not all Appleby City Council members support beer and wine sales, including a Niche competitor. Yet all the council is required to do is call an election and let the voters decide.

The petition will be presented at Tuesday night's Appleby City Council meeting. East Texas News will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

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