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Old 04-27-2010, 12:25 PM   #1
wrestler63
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Default New LHBS and Smoke Shop in Mid Michigan

Hi All,
Given the state of the recent economy here in Michigan I am seriously thinking of starting a secondary business and opening a LHBS and Smoke Shop in Mid Michigan. It would be a smoke shop in terms of Cigars and Roll your own cigerettes only. I would appreciate any input from people in the area as to what they would like to see in a quality LHBS.

With the amount of craft brewers in Michigan I was thinking of having brewing seminars from the likes of Dark Hourse, Bells, Founders, as well as others on a monthly basis. I would like to have brew pubs join in as well. I think this will just increase the interest in craft beers made here in Michigan.

I would also like to include some DIY products for sale from brewers around the country.

Any ideas?

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Old 04-27-2010, 12:42 PM   #2
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I will throw in: Hire BREWING staff. The LHBS closest to me hired some part-timers just ther for a check and they couldn't tell you the diference between ale and lager yeast let alone answer a real question. I drive 15 mins farther to NOT go there. I can not imagine they draw a whole lot of new business as they make barrier of entry tougher.

Also, check your opinions at the door. Nothing's worse then going to buy and being told that it is not a legitimate purchase. I make a light, lawnmower ale, and when I asked for the ingredients was asked in response "why don't you brew real beer?". Seriously? "well, seeing as how I am looking at the grains I need why don't you sell real ingredients? Better yet I'm taking my real money out the door!". You will need to sell things you don't like, bottles, extracts,sours, etc. people that use them are not illegitimate brewers. I am getting preachy sorry, but that there is the very reason I'm looking at opening a LHBS myself.

The breweries, classes, service, product, etc is all good. Spend as much time ifnot more on marketing. How are you going to tell the people that need to know. Too many good places overlook that step, if you are not drawing people in, then nothing else matters. How are go going to let you marketshare know you are there?

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Old 04-27-2010, 12:49 PM   #3
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Sorry for the typos, in line at the DMV on my iPhone.

Wanted to add: not sure if your margins on the DIY stuff would be very good. Maybe a consignment agreement to draw in foot traffic, but you're looking at HUGE investment of capital for a long turn around. I have collected a network of welder, fabricators, etc so if people are looking for stuff I can get them help, contact builds or trades. Between the money and floor space I can't make it work as a retail product though. If you do let's talk

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Old 04-27-2010, 01:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OsbornBrewing View Post
I will throw in: Hire BREWING staff. The LHBS closest to me hired some part-timers just ther for a check and they couldn't tell you the diference between ale and lager yeast let alone answer a real question. I drive 15 mins farther to NOT go there. I can not imagine they draw a whole lot of new business as they make barrier of entry tougher.

Also, check your opinions at the door. Nothing's worse then going to buy and being told that it is not a legitimate purchase. I make a light, lawnmower ale, and when I asked for the ingredients was asked in response "why don't you brew real beer?". Seriously? "well, seeing as how I am looking at the grains I need why don't you sell real ingredients? Better yet I'm taking my real money out the door!". You will need to sell things you don't like, bottles, extracts,sours, etc. people that use them are not illegitimate brewers. I am getting preachy sorry, but that there is the very reason I'm looking at opening a LHBS myself.

The breweries, classes, service, product, etc is all good. Spend as much time ifnot more on marketing. How are you going to tell the people that need to know. Too many good places overlook that step, if you are not drawing people in, then nothing else matters. How are go going to let you marketshare know you are there?
Thank you for your input. All things you have mentioned have crossed my mind. I too have been put off in the past when staff at LHBS have given there opinions when not asked for. " Do you know thats gonna be a hop bomb? " Ah......hell yea, thats why I am brewing it. " Thats alot of Munich for a IIPA, you like that much Munich? " Ah.....hell yea.

I am trying to get some part time brewers from brew pubs as staff as well as myself. I am also going to stock as many items as I can afford to start and increase as time goes. Imediate needs seem to be a large hop and yeast selection. LME and DME selections, beer kits, as well as a fairly large selection of grains. Other large items such as brew equipment will be 1's and 2's and I will re order as sold until I can get more inventory. Flavor additives, bungs, carbouys, buckets ect. will be a medium quanities for now as well.

Then comes some money saving for advertising. Having been self employed for sometime, I know the importance.

I really want to make this fly so I am goiung to do it with as much thought and outside input as possible.

If you maker it and you like it, enjoy !!!!!!
Cheers
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:34 PM   #5
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You might want to take a trip down to Siciliano's Market if you've never been there or check out their website. As you can tell by looking at the website, they have a large selection and a variety of products, so it's not something you could start out as very easily, but it could give you some ideas for directions to expand in the future.

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Old 04-27-2010, 06:50 PM   #6
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Where in Michigan are you thinking about going? I think this is the perfect state to bring anouther HBS. The place I go to is allways jammed. Also I go 30 mins out of my way to go to a shop that is super friendly, and knowledgable. The place 10 mins away, they are pissed when they get a customer, I think he has to put his internet surfing on hold. That is fine, think i've spent well over 1000 at the good shop. I like the one on one help, and a large stock. I think you need to be as competitive as you can with the prices of your products. Lets face it everybody shops the internet. But i would rather spend my money at the LHBS than online when I can. There are 2 exceptions, but thats the minority. Hope you go through with it, be sure to post some updates when you do....GL

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Old 04-27-2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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You can never have too many LHBS's in Michigan.

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Old 04-27-2010, 11:06 PM   #8
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I was thinking about this some more, and i have to add, take a page from Forrest's Ausint Homebrew Supply, and do your own kits. EVERYONE carries Best Brew kits, and they are easy, but how hard it would it be to offer you own kits? You're already ordering the ingredients, just double up, package your own, and stamp your logo on it. I think that would be the way to go and once you get to know your clients you could even customize the IPAs, Stouts, etc for them. The Best Brew kits are nice, don't get me wrong, I think you'd better with your own though.

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Old 04-27-2010, 11:41 PM   #9
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Great idea! I live in Columbus, OH and wait to purchase stuff until I get to Webberville, about a 3hr drive on my way up to see the folks. Where abouts in Central MI? M57/US27? Lansing, or Mt. P?

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Old 04-27-2010, 11:49 PM   #10
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+1 on sicilianos. it's a great store and everyone there has been very helpfull when i go there

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