Two propositions on the ballot Tuesday night regarding the sale of alcohol in Lumberton passed by a solid majority. Proposition 1, which called for the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants, passed with 66% of the vote. Proposition 2, which would make it legal for vendors to sell beer and wine, passed with 61% of people in favor.
Longhorn Liquor, located 6 inches outside of the Lumberton city limits, is one of the only alcohol suppliers for the area.
"We have over 6 people that deliver to us and it's such a wide selection," Longhorn owner Dennis Williams told us.
But now that voters have decided to allow the sale of beer and wine inside the city, Longhorn may soon see more competition. But that doesn't seem to worry Williams.
"It's going to let the hotels, if they choose to start selling, that'll be another place for us to pick up a new client," he said.
With no property tax in Lumberton, many people think sales tax on alcohol will help raise money for the city. They also hope it will attract more restaurants wanting to sell spirits. One Japanese steakhouse on Highway 96 plans to take advantage. But not every restaurant in Lumberton is ready to jump at the chance to sell alcohol. Bill Carden, the owner of Novrozsky's hamburgers says he doesn't think it's worth it.
"I think my good church following might frown on me a little bit and I respect them for their reasons for not selling it, so I'm going to continue to be alcohol free for now," Carden said.
Carden sells beer at his Novrozsky's locations in Silsbee and Orange, but says those sales account for less than 1% of his revenue.
"I don't think a lot of people are going to just run in and buy beer just because I start selling it, none of them have come up to me and said 'Bill, I'm going to quit eating here since you're not going to sell beer',"he said.
So Carden is just going to continue with business as usual. So is Williams, who remains optimistic about the future, saying, "It's going to bring awareness to Lumberton that we've grown up; we've reached the next step in helping our city grow."
This is the 8th time the city of Lumberton has voted on alcohol sales since 1973. It was rejected the last time it was brought up back in 2007.
Restaurants and other businesses looking to sell alcohol in Lumberton first have to apply for a certificate with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and then with the city. But they can't begin that process until the City Council officially certifies the election results on Monday.