ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Clyde residents and business owners are putting a petition to change a law regarding liquor sales, which requires a business to sell more than 50% food in order to sell liquor at all. One restaurant owner claims this law is the reason her business closed down.
Stalling Time is a beer and wine bistro that opened in Clyde one year ago, but the owners, Melissa and Will Stallings spent their one-year anniversary closing its doors.
“This has been very traumatic. I feel like I’m going through a grieving process,” said Melissa Stallings. “Unfortunately, we became a statistic that most restaurants fail within their first year.”
Melissa Stallings said they shut down because of higher prices and their insurance tripling, which caused their overhead to be too expensive, and they were not reaching a large enough clientele with only beer and wine sales.
“Every day, somebody would come in and say, ‘Do you have your liquor license? I don’t really drink beer and wine,’” Melissa Stallings shared.
A Clyde law restricts businesses from selling liquor unless more than 50% of what the business sells is food.
Melissa Stallings shared that this is difficult because of the profit margin. For example, she said she could buy food for $3 and sell it for $7, but she could also buy a $30 bottle of liquor and make $300 off of that bottle.
Nick Saab, Owner of Thirsty’s Beer Barn, said there is no place to buy liquor in Clyde.
“We have a lot of people every day stopping by, you know, off the interstate just wanting to buy liquor, and of course, we can’t sell it to them,” Saab explained.
He shared they often have to send people to Abilene or Baird to purchase liquor.
“I’m not trying to push drinking. I think from an economical standpoint, that will be good for Clyde,” Saab explained.
In fact, he is the one spearheading a petition, hoping to collect the 422 signatures needed to get this item put on the November ballot. In order to bring an item to the city council, there must be signatures from one-third of residents who live within the city limits and voted in the last gubernatorial election. Since there were over 1,200 voters, 422 signatures exactly are needed. If these signatures are collected and approved, this will go to the city council, which will decide whether it will be put on the November ballot or not.
Last year, this same effort to collect signatures failed, which they shared is because they waited until the last minute.
“We’re hoping that more people will know about it,” said Saab.
Opposers to this petition, like Brenda Lauw, say this could increase drunk driving and crime rates in the area.
“I’m opposed because liquor sales create NO jobs, will raise our car insurance rates and will increase crime through DUIs, wrecks and injuries/fatalities,” Lauw explained. “I prefer that Clyde remain a child-friendly small town.”
She also stated that Texas has the highest rates of DUIs, which is another reason she opposes it.
However, Mayor Rodger Brown said they have spoken to the police department, and do not believe this will increase crime.
“[Melissa’s] business did not increase drunk driving. It did not increase crime,” said Mayor Brown. “The majority of citizens that have vocalized this want it.”
Even though Mayor Brown said the city is not taking a stance on this issue, he added that “the pros greatly outweigh the cons.”
This group began collecting signatures on April 19, and anyone who wants to sign the petition can go to Thirsty’s Beer Barn, Vintage Vibe West Boutique or Easy Pickin’s Thrift.