Tail to tell: The island’s seawall is home to a new distillery, and this one serves moonshine — legally.

Nick Droege and business partner Greg Truex on Wednesday officially opened Texas Tail Distillery, 4116 Seawall Blvd.

The business partners had been operating Texas Tail, known for hand-crafted vodka, in Dallas. But the men, who met while attending college, were born and reared in the Alvin and Friendswood areas and wanted to return to the upper Texas coast. Droege and Truex launched the business in 2007.

“We grew up fishing in West Bay and it was time to come home,” Droege said. “This is where we always wanted to end up.”

Texas Tail makes some of the product in Dallas, but soon the company will make all of it on the island.

Texas Tail Distillery will make and serve vodka, Coastline Whiskey and Southern Marsh Moonshine in various flavors, including apple, peach and blackberry.

Dave Bridgwater of island-based Joe Tramonte Realty represented the strip center in the lease transaction. Chris Vaughn with Remax/American Dream of Alvin represented Texas Tail Distillery.

Retail rumblings: An intriguing but unsubstantiated rumor is making the rounds that furniture, mattress, electronics and appliance store Conn’s HomePlus is planning a store in part of the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery business office building, 3401 Palmer Highway in Texas City. It’s the same building where Planet Fitness plans to open a gym.

Representatives for Conn’s did not immediately respond to inquiries. And city officials this week couldn’t confirm the rumor, they said.

Conn’s Inc. earlier this year broke ground on a 656,658-square-foot distribution center in north Houston. In 2008, the year the company posted nearly $1 billion in revenues, it initiated a new concept it called HomePlus, upgrading existing stores and adding new ones. The larger format was meant to showcase furniture and mattresses and the latest technologies in home appliances and consumer electronics, officials said. Stay tuned.

Building buy: Island businessman and developer Keith Bassett, and Tom Vaughn and Billy Ray Wagner — principals behind the popular SaltWater Soul apparel line, have acquired the building formerly occupied by Trans-King Transmissions, 1019 53rd St. in Galveston.

Bassett and Vaughn are merging their businesses — Bassett owns the growing Chalmers Embroidery, currently housed Chalmers Hardware, 2002 Broadway on the island. Vaughn owns Outback T-Shirt Co. Both companies offer embroidery, monogramming and screen-printing services.

SaltWater Soul will lease space in the building for storage and as an outlet for products that are out of print or off size. But to avoid competing with retailers who carry its line of products, SaltWater Soul won’t sell new items from the new building.

Bassett and Vaughn, who will soon announce the name of their merged business, will offer embroidery, screen printing and ad specialties at the 53rd Street building, which should be up and running in January. Stay tuned.

Careful, wet paint: Look for Benjamin Moore Paints to soon open an island store. Benjamin Moore Paints, which is only available through independently owned paint and hardware stores, has leased 4,493 square feet at 6211 Stewart Road, in the shopping center anchored by Marshalls and Ross Dress for Less.

Harold A. Clark & Co., which owns the shopping center, didn’t have an immediate opening date. The paint store is working to secure permits, officials said.

Benjamin Moore Paints will move into the space formerly occupied by paint purveyor Sherwin-Williams, which in 2014 moved to 1014 61st St. on the island.

Coming soon: Fresh details have emerged about the massive manmade lagoon underway in Texas City. And Friendswood is getting a new Tex-Mex restaurant. Read about that and more in next week’s Biz Buzz.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

Managing Editor

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