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Stores welcome wine

More Ennis businesses adding wine to inventory after passage of ordinance
With the passing of the new off-premise wine sales ordinance in May, businesses throughout the city have been steadily applying for permits allowing their establishments to sell wine for off premise consumption.
While most of the businesses applying for the new permit are convenience stores, grocery stores are also cashing in on the potential sales increase as well. Super 1 Foods in Ennis is in the process of obtaining the permit to allow wine sales for their location and store manager Don Howard says that while the decision to do so was made at the corporate level, locally, he is hoping the added variety of beverages increases the amount of sales the store sees.
“We have started the process to receive the permit for off premise wine sales, but we aren’t sure how long that process takes,” he said. The decision to apply for the permit was made at the corporate level by the marketing department because of the potential increase in sales. We are hoping that it is a significant jump for our store when we receive the permit.”
The first store in town to receive a permit for off premise wine sales was Doc’s Beverages on E. Ennis Ave. and owner Imran Meer says since they began selling wine on July 3, his store has seen a nine percent increase in sales.
“We have been in business here for 11 years and have worked at giving customers something new to keep them coming back so the wine sales permit along with our off premise beer sales permit was a way to do that,” he said. “Our sales have gone up and we are seeing new customers so that tells me people that used to have to travel to Alma or Garrett for wine now have the convenience of staying at home. I think the added selection of products will help the sales within the city.”
The process of obtaining a license isn’t a quick one and does involve a lot of paperwork. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission employee Robert Wallace works with the city verifying that businesses applying for the permits are located within the city limits. He said businesses wishing to sell beer and wine have two options.
“The first option is for businesses that did not have an off premise beer permit to apply for both an off-premise beer and wine permit and the second is for businesses that had the beer permit to now apply to add the wine permit distinction to their existing permit,” he said. “Stores may also cancel the existing beer permit and apply for a package store permit allowing the sale of both beer and wine, but there is no advantage of doing one more than the other because both permits allow the sale of the same items.”
Obtaining a permit can take up to 90 days and members of management from the location applying for it have to attend a class outlining all of the rules regarding the permit and how signs need to be displayed. Meer says this is a common request from the TABC.
“Every time there is a change in your permit or what you are requesting you have to go to a class where the TABC people inform you of the newest regulations so applicants are in compliance and also so they can instruct you on how the mandatory signage needs to be posted both outside and inside the store,” he said.
As for who benefits from the new wine sales, Wallace said it’s going to help grocery stores the most based on a trend the TABC has been seeing in permit applications.
“It is a bigger deal for grocery stores, because it is an added sale and while people shop they can get all of their items in one location,” he said. “The beer and wine sales permit does affect what retail locations will come into an area. We have seen where bigger box stores won’t even consider setting up in an area unless they can get both permits.”
Ennis Chamber of Commerce president Jeannette Patak said she thinks the added sales will help keep sales tax revenue in the city.
“I think the supermarkets and businesses that are getting set up to sell wine will see an increase in revenue for their establishments and in turn the sales tax money stays here in Ennis so that is good for the entire community,” she said. “There was a dramatic push to get the ordinance passed and now other communities are following suit so I think it could mean good things for the city.”
Efforts are underway in Waxahachie to pass a similar ordinance.
While Ennis businesses wait for their permit applications to be processed, city officials say the overall effect wine sales has had on the sales tax can’t be estimated, because not everyone is set up to sell wine yet and figures are not available since the ordinance only passed in May.

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Posted by on Sep 2 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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