AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Saturday afternoon that he is asking members of the Texas Restaurant Association, Texas Package Stores Association and Texas retailers to “voluntarily remove all Russian products from their shelves.”
Some Austin business owners are already doing just that.
Russian House of Austin told KXAN they will be taking “Russian” out of their business name. Owners plan to take the name down Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Skeeter Miller, owner of County Line barbecue, said they’ll be pulling all their Russian vodka off the shelf — including Smirnoff and Stoli vodkas.
“We were all just kind of set back by what was going on,” he said. “This is what we can do, something positive.”
Miller said he typically orders about $50,000 to $75,000 worth of Russian vodka per year — but no more.
“I just found out tonight that there’s a vodka from Ukraine called Khor, k-h-o-r, so we’re going to reach out and buy some of that,” he said.
Thomas Gohring, owner of Kick Butt Coffee, said they only carry one Russian product — Beluga Noble Russian Vodka, but they will be discontinuing it “in support of Ukraine.”
“Russia does make great vodka, but we have lots of great options in Texas as well, “said Dan Mesich, bar manager at Kick Butt. “All our other vodkas are Titos, Deep Eddy’s and Dripping Springs.”
Bob Woody, who owns 28 businesses in the city and is president of the East Sixth Street Community Association, told KXAN he will no longer purchase any products from Russia while the conflict exists.
The Austin businesses join restaurants and bars around the nation that have very publicly said they will destroy or pull Russian products.
The Texas Restaurant Association said that includes many of their 50,000 members.
“We’re gonna work hard to make sure that we have alternatives to what they’re already using and then really work with our suppliers,” said President and CEO Emily Williams Knight.
Knight said they secured about $180 million during the special session for Texas restaurants and they hope to roll funds out next quarter as businesses ditch product.
“Really the work with restaurants to make sure that the economic impact is not on top of what they’ve already been facing in the pandemic,” she said.
While Austin businesses pull Russian products from their shelves, people gathered at Texas’ capital, many of them with ties to Ukraine.
“I just want my friends and my family to know we love them and we will do anything we can here to support you,” said Inna Merryweather. “Please stay strong. We need you to stay strong.”
“All we do is read the news and pray for our people in Ukraine and hope they’re okay, but we know they’re not okay,” Natalia, from Belarus, said. Another woman told KXAN that he was calling his family and friends in Ukraine every hour to check and make sure they were still safe.
Russian troops moved in on Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, overnight our time. City officials warned of street fighting and urged residents to stay inside and take cover.
In a significant move, the German government committed additional weaponry to the fight.