KE Cellars' shop closes doors for good - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

KE Cellars' shop closes doors for good

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Tyler (KYTX) -- It's a bittersweet Christmas Eve for some wine lovers in Tyler with fond memories. The first store to sell bottled wine in the area since the Prohibition era closed for good this afternoon.

"We've had lots of good times back there listening to music and talking about wine, so it's been really special. We've brought friends here, and we've got friends who played here," Lynne Stein, a customer at KE Cellars, said.

Stein made a point to stop by on the last day you could buy wine at the store in Tyler. It was the only place for awhile you could buy it in Smith County before voters approved off-premise beer and wine sales in 2012.

"Being the monopoly in town gave us the one benefit: people got to know us and become proud and accept wine that's made here locally," Pierre deWet, owner of KE Enterprises, said.

deWet explains this decision was made long ago, since he sells to Brookshires and Fresh.

"We sell bottles at retail here, and we sell wholesale to Brookshires. That means direct competition for them or for us. At least we eliminate one step," deWet said.

This is the only KE store closing, with the tasting room in Bullard still open for people who want to taste wine before buying it.

deWet says his staff will be repurposed, instead of laid off.

"They'll be part-time at the restaurant, or part-time at the tasting room," deWet said.

And what's the end of an era for KE will be a new chapter for someone else.

"That's the highest traffic count in East Texas, along South Broadway Avenue in Tyler. They are going to do well no matter what's going in there," Tom Mullins, President of the Economic Development Council in Tyler, said.

deWet stayed mum about who the new tenant will be, we only know it will be a different business than the one currently in the space.

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