Business is Now Booming for Some Polk County Retailers

Polk County is no longer partially wet. Back in May, the first county-wide election in decades on beer and wine sales passed. Livingston and Corrigan now join Onalaska and Seven Oaks in retail alcohol sales.

Sunny Amin, Livingston convenience store worker, said, "Whatever we [sold] before, now we sell more. Customers used to go away from the city for the beer, now they're coming over here, so, we're doing good."

Some estimates show alcohol sales in Angelina County could bring in about $15 million a year, but Polk County Judge John Thompson said it's too soon to know how much money is coming into his area from alcohol sales. He said more people turned out for the wet/dry vote in Polk County than for the last governor's election, but not all voters are happy about the result.

Donald Murphy of Corrigan said, "It just opens the door for other crime and everything - more people drinking."

Dandy Double has been selling beer and wine in Seven Oaks for years. About half of the customers come in to buy alcohol, but store employees are not worried about their new competition in nearby towns.

Polk County residents have been hearing a lot about the upcoming wet/dry election in Angelina County this November, but they said the vote was not a big deal there.

Dandy Double employee, Veronica Gonzalez, said, "I think it's a good idea because people are gonna drink anyway and they'll drive further to get their alcohol [if Angelina County remains dry]. Most of them are already drunk when they're driving."

The wet/dry election in May was the third county-wide vote on retail alcohol sales for Polk County in more than 30 years. The November election in Angelina County will be the first county-wide vote on alcohol sales.

The City of Livingston will find out how much revenue it's gotten from retail alcohol sales when the sales tax report is released later this month. Polk County will know how much money it's making from alcohol sales by the first of the year.