The Texas Senate last week voted to eliminate a provision in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code that allows families to open an unlimited number of liquor stores while others are limited to five.

“It’s time to stop this discriminatory practice, which has allowed a handful of families to establish virtual liquor store cartels,” spokesman Travis Thomas wrote in a Texans for Consumer Freedom press release.

“The Rydman family, which owns Spec’s, the state’s largest liquor store chain, has amassed a 163-store empire throughout Texas,” the press release states.

“Meanwhile, liquor store owners unable to take advantage of the loophole are prohibited from expanding their operations beyond five stores.”

The so-called “consanguinity” rule allows members of an immediate family to pool their package store permits to form a single legal entity that can obtain an unlimited number of permits.

Sales tax holiday

A sales tax holiday is scheduled April 22-24 for emergency preparedness supplies.

“Unfortunately, we can’t predict when the next fire, flood or tornado may strike,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a press release. “But we can be prepared, and this tax holiday helps Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations before they happen.”

There is no limit on the number of qualifying items customers can buy. These include “batteries, fuel containers and flashlights priced at less than $75; hurricane shelters and emergency ladders priced at less than $300; and portable generators priced at less than $3,000,” according to the press release.

“The Comptroller’s Office estimates shoppers will save $1.5 million in state and local sales taxes during the holiday, approved by lawmakers during the 2015 Texas Legislature,” the press release states.

Golden Apple Award

Allen Samuels House of Travel, 301 Owen Lane, was awarded the prestigious Golden Apple Award from tour operator Apple Vacations, one of the leading names in all-inclusive vacations to beaches in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Golden Apple travel agencies are among the top sellers of Apple Vacations packages in the U.S. and receive extra benefits including educational site inspections, exclusive promotions, cooperative advertising funding and more, according to a company press release.

House of Travel was established by Carol Allen in 1974. In July 2000, car dealer Allen Samuels bought House of Travel and added his name to the title. It employs seven travel consultants.

Dwyer-Owens to speak

Businesswoman Dina Dwyer-Owens, co-chairwoman of the Dwyer Group board of directors, author, speaker and one-time guest on TV’s “Undercover Boss,” will speak at the April meeting of the McLennan County Republican Club.

The event is scheduled at noon Thursday in Knox Hall of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum, Interstate 35 and University Parks Drive.

Her talk is titled “Keeping Values Front & Center.”

A barbecue lunch will be offered for $12, with credit cards accepted.

Michna’s asking price cut

The asking price for the former Michna’s Bar-B-Que building at 2803 Franklin Ave. has dropped by $100,000 to $349,500, according to Harrell & Associates, which is marketing the site.

The 7,184-square-foot structure has been remodeled. Inside, visitors will find a greeting area, main eating and serving area, potential private room for parties and special occasions, large prep kitchen, storage room, drive-thru room and employee office.

More than 28,000 vehicles pass the site daily, according to information provided by the listing real estate company.

Other business news

  • The Gander Mountain store at South Valley Mills Drive and I-35 continues its quitting-business sale. It is one of more than 30 underperforming stores the outdoors chain will close.

Gander Mountain leases the 52,000-square-foot building.

  • Rents in Waco are up 4.5 percent compared to this time last year, according to, which said in a press release that “rents are still down year over year in some of the nation’s most expensive cities, such as San Francisco, Miami and San Jose.”
  • The vacant Hastings Entertainment store at Valley Mills Drive and Bosque Boulevard remains on the market. Waco attorney Artie Giotes, a partner in the ownership of the building, said a couple of prospects have looked at the site, but no deal is imminent.
  • Waco-based ARC Abatement and Austin-based Lone Wolf Enterprises have announced the companies will merge to provide abatement services to clients nationwide.

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