Editor's note: This story has been changed to correct Freeport LNG is a grand prize sponsor of Shop Local Shop Strong.

Texas Rivers Distilling, an aspiring business we told you about almost 14 months ago when I took over The Scoop — I’m going for the Guinness record as longest-serving temp — has had a lot of hurdles to overcome.

Now that all of them have been cleared, it’s time for a party.

Admission is free for the official grand opening celebration from noon to 6 p.m. Friday at the distillery, 202 S. Gulf Blvd. in Freeport. A special concert featuring the Will Carter Band will follow at 7 p.m., for which tickets will be required. They cost $10 in advance at www.eventbrite.com/e/will-carter-live-performance-tickets-463255087437, or $15 at the door.

In addition to Texas Rivers’ bourbon, those 21 and older can enjoy other custom spirits. They include Navasota River Brand Corn Whiskey, Drum Bay rum, Clear Ford River moonshine and Honey Creek Specialty Honey Spirit brandy.

Those beverages are all available by the shot, but they also concoct some amazing cocktails — the fully dressed Apple Pie Moonshine looks amazing. You can see more of their selection of drinks at its Facebook page.

MAKING A CINEMARK

Heading to a doctor’s visit last week in Sugar Land, the new Cinemark theater off Highway 6 in Missouri City is hard to miss.

The 14-screen Cinemark Missouri City and XD is the first to showcase a reimagined theater design, including signage, employee uniforms and enhanced technology, the company said.

“It brings the best in exhibition to Houston moviegoers, with immersive, first-class amenities including two XD auditoriums, all Luxury Lounger recliners and a new look and feel that enhances the customer experience from the minute they walk into the theatre, all the way to the end credits,” a news release announcing the theater’s opening states.

The location is a good one for Brazoria County residents who are in a bit of a no-man’s-land of movie theaters right now, having to travel to either Pearland or Lake Jackson for a megaplex.

STAYING STRONG

The Facts started the Shop Local Shop Strong campaign three years ago as a means of boosting small businesses struggling during the pandemic. It proved to be a great success, as both businesses and consumers stepped up to keep our communities’ small shops viable.

With inflation a problem for many families and small businesses, the need for community support remains, and we hope to have even better participation in Shop Local Shop Strong this year.

A special section highlighting participating businesses is scheduled for Thanksgiving, just in time to play a day of shopping on Small Business Saturday. That event, started in 2010 by American Express in response to the recession, is the equivalent of Black Friday for small business owners.

While businesses buy in as partners to Shop Local Shop Strong, the benefits to their customers are plentiful. The Facts draws winners of $25 gift cards from people who upload a photo to our website of themselves with their purchase at a participating business, with Brazos Woods Veterinary Clinic sponsoring the gallery.

And this year, we have two grand prize sponsors — BASF and Freeport LNG — meaning we will give out a pair of $1,000 shopping sprees.

Look for promotional information in The Facts and at our Facebook page, and for the QR code to scan at participating businesses to conveniently upload a photo.

Sponsorships ranging from $250 to $3,000 still are available for businesses wishing to join in the program. Call Valerie Nunez at 979-237-0130 to get more information.

We are excited about having another successful year that benefits our community.

DETAILS, DETAILS

We have heard about a couple big things coming, but at this point, no one is offering much in the way of details.

The most noticeable is at the College Park subdivision at College Drive and Old Angleton Road in Clute, where all of the trees have been wiped off the land. A commercial area including shopping and a place to eat is all the information we have been told officially.

We already have received reaction to the deforestation, but plans have been in the works for more than 18 months, when developer Doug Kirk put in a rezoning request with Clute City Council. At the time of the public hearing in March 2021, Kirk asked the site allow planned-unit development so he could build some townhomes and a commercial area. Residents of the subdivision argued vociferously against it, but council eventually acquiesced.

We also hear the Buc-ee’s beach store at Highway 332 and FM 523 in Freeport will be expanding. The convenience store/travel plaza chain isn’t ready to confirm that.

“We don’t have anything definitive yet,” Buc-ee’s General Counsel Jeff Nadalo said when reached by email about its plans.

Michael Morris is managing editor of The Facts. If you have a question about a possible business moving in or out, or an existing business expanding or changing things up, email michael.morris@thefacts.com.

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