Business Owners Push for Extended Alcohol Sales in Walker County

By: Michael Oder Email
By: Michael Oder Email

HUNTSVILLE, WALKER COUNTY A group of business owners in Walker County is pushing to expand the sale of alcohol. As it stands now, only certain parts of the county allow the sale of beer and liquor.

They want to change that for an area along Highway 30, west of Huntsville.

"They'll start looking around, confused," explains Sam Shukla. He owns the Shel convenience store on Highway 30, west of Huntsville.

"They walk through the middle of the isle. Then, they say 'where's the beer?'", laughs Shukla. It's customer behavior that Shukla has named "the beer walk."

"They come in at 9 o'clock at night and they just walk around the whole entire store," says Shukla.

It happens nearly every day. His convenience store sits on Highway 30, west of Huntsville. It's the only one that falls into the dry pocket.

A majority of Walker County is dry. Even parts of Huntsville don't allow beer or liquor sales. The lines are pretty narrowly drawn. In some places, businesses across the street from each other can be in dry and wet parts of the county.

The wet areas are concentrated along Interstate 45 and around the downtown area of Huntsville.

"The difference we are seeing in the sales is tremendous," says Shukla.

"About 50% of our business at the other stores comes from beer and alcohol. Whereas this store is missing those sales," says Shulka.

Even without the beer and wine, Shukla's store is ready.

"We have 26 doors and as soon as we get beer, doors 18 through 26 are going to be for beer and wine. Right now it's non-alcoholic beverages," explains Shukla.

"We took a risk when we built this property," shares Shukla.

A risk that he hopes will start to pay off once beer and liquor sales are allowed.

Shukla is part of the Community for Economic Growth - a group that is pushing for Precinct 2 alcohol sales. The initiative is set to go before Walker County Commissioners in early July.

There have been other attempts at making Walker County completely wet. In 2012, two petitions failed to get enough signatures.

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