Fewer Beer Runs Will Hurt Business - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/09/06 - Nacogdoches

Fewer Beer Runs Will Hurt Business

by Donna McCollum

James Wong spent borrowed money to buy and improve Clark's Beer and Liquor on Highway 59. Angelina County customers provide a comfortable living for his family. What's left over he puts right back into the business.

Now that Angelina County is going wet, Wong knows competing with huge outlets in Lufkin is a mission impossible. Wong said, "Let me tell you why. Most grocery stores, like Wal-Mart -- especially Wal-Mart is a big one -- HEB, and Brookshire's sell beer, most of them, at cost."

Wong's advantage over the big guys is he can sell hard liquor and they can't. But, that's only 20 percent of his revenue. He could sell out, but who wants a business with no customers, asks Wong. "To sell the store here is not easy -- it's just impossible."

Most of Wong's neighbors are in the same situation, except for Earline Ramos, who has sold alcohol from the location most every day for 30 years. She is actually glad that Angelina County is going wet. She was wanting a slower work day.

Package stores near, but not on the county line aren't too concerned either. Cloudy's on Highway 7 is relying on nearby residents, who are loyal customers.

Wong is certain to lose customers, but he, too, has loyal patrons. A customer buying a case of beer said, "I work construction, so once I leave from work out of Nacogodches, I come through. So, I'll probably stop by here -- always do -- so he'll probably still be seeing me here."  Wong smiled and said,  "For now, we stay put and wait and see."  

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