Local San Marcos businesses are concerned the new alcohol ordinance, awaiting its second reading, will hurt their sales.
The ordinance, if passed, will make the display and consumption of alcohol illegal in all city parks. It places restrictions on plastic foam cups, tobacco use and personal barbecue pits. The river is state property and therefore out of the city council’s jurisdiction.
The ban is scaring some local business owners who rely on revenue from alcohol sales.
Naveed Mohammed, owner of the Korner Stop Food Mart by Sewell Park, expressed concern for his business that has ‘Beer and Wine’ on the store’s sign. A high percentage of his store’s merchandise is alcohol.
“It’s not good,” Mohammed said. “It’s not going to only hurt my business. It’s going to hurt everyone’s (business).”
Mohammed said the store’s profit might diminish during the summer floating season if people cannot drink at the parks and go to other towns to spend their money. Depending on how business goes if the ordinance passes, Mohammad will consider making changes in his merchandise and the amount of alcohol the store carries.
Dora Rizk, owner of Herbert’s Grocery, said she is against the ban because it will hurt her business.
“About 70 percent of my revenue comes from beer, alcohol and tobacco sales,” Rizk said.
Rizk’s store is one of many, including The Yellow Store, Shell Food Mart and Café on the Square, supporting a petition to stop the new ordinance from passing.
Monica De La Rosa, San Marcos resident, is heading up the petition. To protest the ordinance, she started a Facebook page, which has swelled to approximately 600 supporters.
“Putting this new law into effect affects a lot of people,” De La Rosa said.
Kim Porterfield, City Councilmember Place 1, voted in favor of the ordinance. She thinks the ordinance will positively affect tourism rates in San Marcos. Porterfield related the San Marcos ban to the alcohol policy Galveston adopted in 1968, which she said did not affect alcohol sales.
“The most important factor is the river. It brings so much money to our restaurants, gas stations, convenient stores and hotels,” Porterfield said.
Jude Prather, Place 2, voted against the ordinance because he disagrees with Porterfield.
“It will definitely affect tourism in San Marcos because it changes what San Marcos is known for,” said Prather. “San Marcos is known for being a fun town.”
Porterfield said the council wants people to come to the river and enjoy themselves, just not while intoxicated. She called the new ordinance a curtailment, not a ban.
Porterfield is concerned, however, about the timing of the potential ordinance. She said park visitors coming from out of town may not know about the ordinance, and there is little time before summer to spread awareness.
Local business owners may also feel a hit if the ordinance passes during the April 17 city council meeting.
“There’s nothing much I can do. I think most of the convenient stores will suffer from this, especially in surrounding areas,” said Mohammed. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”