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Eastland County alcohol propositions pose problems for nearby town of Putnam

Family business in Putnam closes after alcohol props pass in Eastland County

PUTNAM ,Texas - What some call good news is proving to be devastating to others.

Two alcohol propositions were passed in parts of Eastland county in last week's election, and now one business in Putnam is closing its doors.

AJ's has been a part of the town for years. The store sold not only beer, but basic groceries to those in Putnam and surrounding areas.

Helen Sims, the owner, said their decision to close down is only the beginning of the end for their small town.

"We knew when Cisco went wet it couldn't survive," said Sims.

Sims has owned and operated AJ's with her family for 15 years. Now that the town won't be seeing as much business from Cisco, she said she had no other choice but to cut her losses.

"It was a hard decision to make because it has been in the family," said Sims.

Sims said that every year the props have been on the ballot for Cisco, she has crossed her fingers for the town, but that luck has run out.

She's now facing several thousand dollars in losses from products she says she can't sell, and a building she says no one wants in a town that's declining.

She said it's just a matter of time before other businesses are forced to follow suit.

"This town's going to dry up and blow away," said Sims.

Calvin Walton has lived in Putnam for 14 years. He said most people in town depend on AJ's for groceries, but losing it means more than losing a convenient place to buy milk.

"Those people are like family to me," he said.  "I see them everyday."

For now, Sims is packing up her store and her life, and hoping to find a new job.

"Cisco going wet has killed Putnam," she said.  "It's sad because it's been there so long."

AJ's officially closed this past Sunday.

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