LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - One year ago this week, stores in Lubbock started selling packaged alcohol, and now we're taking a closer look at the effect sales have had on the Hub City.
12 months ago, the strip was your only option to purchase packaged alcohol, but what a difference a year makes now there's barely a pulse, and hundreds of stores have popped up city-wide.
Last year when these stores opened across the Hub City, history was made.
"We added quite a few off premise locations," said Sgt. Michael Lockhart with TABC.
Since then Lockhart says more than 500 stores have started selling packaged alcohol across the South Plains.
"The volume hasn't picked up, certainly if anything the bars have dropped a little, the on-premise places, it has increased some at the stores, but it has just balanced," said Lockhart.
In fact TABC works with other law enforcement agencies in the community and there has even been a slight decrease in DWI arrests.
"It's not enough to start cheering and patting ourselves on the back, but certainly we are seeing a trend," said Lockhart.
Now that a liquor store may be right around the corner, Lockhart says that doesn't mean more are buying.
"The same people who were buying alcohol before are still buying it, that hasn't changed," said Lockhart.
"It's not like we are gaining a whole bunch of new drinkers because of it," said Rick Claybrook, owner of Rick's Place.
Claybrook says he's glad his locations can now be convenient for his customers.
"It's just not the same thing as going out to the strip in the old days and get a pick up load of alcohol, so you wouldn't have to go back for another month," said Claybrook.
But he admits that its hard to watch the competition pop up right across the street.
"It spreads out the consumer to the retailers and the more stores that open, the more noticeable that's going to become," said Claybrook.
Since Rick's Place in Wolfforth started selling liquor and with the opening of the new store in Lubbock, he says he has seen about a 10-12% increase in sales.
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