Plano Star-courier > News
Reactions to liquor petition mixed
Liquor sales may be on the ballot in May if a petition with 25,624 signatures is confirmed by the city of Plano.
The petition was submitted Jan. 7 by Plano Citizens for Economic Equality, a group of restaurant owners and retailers hoping to see "the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only."
Despite the group's apparent success in gathering signatures, some Plano beer and wine retailers have expressed mixed feelings on the issue.
Chuck Wong, co-owner of S&K Beverage on Spring Creek Parkway, said the ability to sell liquor would likely bring "aggressive chains" such as Spec's and Total Wine & More to the city. He did not sign the petition when approached by the group because he lives outside the city limits.
"We wanted liquor for the longest time, and that's pretty much my dream -- to get liquor here," he said. "But then my concern is, if they get liquor here, those big chains come in and open right next to us, and it would pretty much be no more business."
A total of 18,568 signatures need to be confirmed for the measure to go before voters, a process the city is currently undertaking, said City Secretary Diane Zucco.
Mayor Phil Dyer said allowing stores to sell liquor would recover tax revenue currently lost to other cities as well as provide convenience for residents who would otherwise have to drive out of town to purchase liquor. Anna and Lowry Crossing are the only cities in Collin County that allow liquor sales.
Dyer also said bars and restaurants, under Texas law, must buy any liquor they serve from stores operating in the same county. Since relatively few suppliers in Collin County sell liquor, those outside of Plano are not "particularly competitive" with their prices, he said.
Shawn O'Connor, wine director at Angel's Beverage, said his store's business would "double overnight" if he were able to sell liquor, adding he gets about 150 requests for liquor or high-alcohol wine per week.
O'Connor also said the current law prohibits the store, which stocks nearly 1,000 different wines, from selling certain wines because of their higher alcohol content.
"It's an opportunity for our business to expand and to serve our customers in a better way," he said.
The treasurer of the group behind the petition is David Doyle, who according a report from the Dallas Morning News works for Dallas-based restaurant company Brinker International. The group has also enlisted the help of consultant John Hatch of Texas Petition Strategies, an organization that claims 80 successful local option efforts.
Dyer said he expects some opposition, especially from liquor stores in cities that allow such sales that might be interested in preserving their market share, adding a shift in the liquor store business toward large retailers should ease any resident concerns.
"You don't see little small mom-and-pop liquor stores around here anymore, so I'd be very surprised if you'd see liquor stores popping up everywhere," Dyer said. "I think if this passes, you would see a handful of large, state-of-the-art liquor stores."
Plano's last alcohol election, held in 2005, allowed retail stores to sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption.
Doyle and Hatch did not return phone calls seeking comment.