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Old 10-25-2012, 04:29 PM   #1
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Default Sometimes, you gotta' support the LHBS

I've read some horror stories about LHBS on this forum. ("Hops? You didn't throw in hops? Ah! That's fine. Recipe only called for a half pound, anyway. It'll be fiiiiiine.") And I've read a lot of people say to forget your LHBS because you can get all your information online and ingredients online for cheaper.

But in some cases -- maybe even MOST cases -- it's good to support the LHBS.

The guy who owns my LHBS is a young father of multiple kids who started the HBS in the last year or so. He works seven days a week and juggles his responsibilities of a husband and a father. If he does get a day off it's because his sister forces him out the door so he can see what his family looks like in the light of day.

I go there to buy all my ingredients, and random things here and there. He gives me as much help as need, in store or if contacted via Facebook/email/etc. He gives me a deal, typically, but I'm still paying more there than I would online or at Home Depot (for various builds or whatnot). In a way, that sucks. But in another way -- in a bigger, better way -- that's fine, because I'm supporting him and his small business.

I pay more to brew, but that's fine by me.

(Post-script: I understand not everyone has a good homebrew store near them. Or, even, a homebrew store at all. This is more just a message to support LHBS when we can because they're just like us with the same passions. ... And a banana guy for good measure: )

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
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While its nice to support local business, just because someone's working hard, has kids, etc sob stories, ultimately it comes down to quality of the product, customer service, convenience, and cost. Im lucky enough that I have a great LHBS close, but I also have a terrible one by me too. Should I split both evenly just because they're both local? Absolutely not. Dont get me wrong, I love supporting local businesses (and FYI, all of those evil internet dealers are local to some area, employing local fathers etc), but I wont support you just because you're local; there still needs to be the afore mentioned parameters.

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:37 PM   #3
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I realize I may have come off harsh; that's not at all what I was trying to do. Im just saying, just like every retailer or business in general, ill give it a try, but you have to earn my business

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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While its nice to support local business, just because someone's working hard, has kids, etc sob stories, ultimately it comes down to quality of the product, customer service, convenience, and cost. Im lucky enough that I have a great LHBS close, but I also have a terrible one by me too. Should I split both evenly just because they're both local? Absolutely not. Dont get me wrong, I love supporting local businesses (and FYI, all of those evil internet dealers are local to some area, employing local fathers etc), but I wont support you just because you're local; there still needs to be the afore mentioned parameters.
Absolutely, and I didn't put that in the original post. Everything at my LHBS, in my opinion, is top notch. Great owner, great store and it has everything I need.

I'm sort of in the same case. I have two LHBS stores somewhat near me, but I'll actually travel a little further to go to the one that's better and fits my needs.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:48 PM   #5
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Support local stores, support stores that supply niche groups that you are in.
I don't buy gun stuff from big stores, I buy from gun shops.
While I do buy brewing stuff online, I buy as much as I can from my local brew shop and that local brew shop is over an hour and a half away.
Example of giving them as much business as I can.
I need a grain mill. The brew store doesn't carry them. They are a small business and mills tie up capitol and shelf space that can be used for things that move better.
I looked around on line and got an idea what I wanted, then called the store to see if they could order one.
He is now setting up an account with a supplier to get the one I want. He may keep one on the shelf after this.
I didn't ask how much because it will be in line with other prices. Maybe not the cheapest I can find, but he will be in line with the typical costs AND I'll be helping to keep the hobby going, and keep a fairly local supplier of ingredients going.
It's worth not the little extra time and maybe a little extra money to help a specialty store that I like having around.

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:50 PM   #6
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Man I just went to my LHBS to buy $40 worth of stuff and ended up spending $86. That place is like a vortex for my wallet...

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:52 PM   #7
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Man I just went to my LHBS to buy $40 worth of stuff and ended up spending $86. That place is like a vortex for my wallet...
That's definitely a downside for me, too.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyDay View Post
While its nice to support local business, just because someone's working hard, has kids, etc sob stories, ultimately it comes down to quality of the product, customer service, convenience, and cost. Im lucky enough that I have a great LHBS close, but I also have a terrible one by me too. Should I split both evenly just because they're both local? Absolutely not. Dont get me wrong, I love supporting local businesses (and FYI, all of those evil internet dealers are local to some area, employing local fathers etc), but I wont support you just because you're local; there still needs to be the afore mentioned parameters.
+1. The LHBS near me is not a very good store. The staff is not very knowledgeable, the gear is more suited towards beginners, and the owner is not very friendly. I realized within 3-4 months of starting to brew that I was more knowledgeable than the staff in the store, and within the same amount of time, I outgrew anything the store could offer me. In addition to all this, they won't even crush your grain for an all grain recipe. They tell you to buy your own mill, but wait, they don't sell mills.

All I'm saying is that it is nice to support a local business if they offer you something the big box stores don't. Instead of going to my LHBS, I drive an hour away to go to Annapolis Homebrew (another local business). They are much more friendly, and knowledgeable. And they brew their own beer in store and put it on tap for customers to try! Beats the pants off of LHBS any day of the week. As far as having a wife and kids to support, lets face it, just because you work 10-12 hour days, 7 days a week doesn't mean you're going to be a bazillionaire.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:18 PM   #9
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Man I just went to my LHBS to buy $40 worth of stuff and ended up spending $86. That place is like a vortex for my wallet...
I am off in a bit to my LHBS for ingredients to brew up. Something tells me this $15 trip is going to cost way more then that. It is not the owners fault for being a good sales person, he leaves me alone while getting my ingredients and I find stuff. For some reason he never trys to talk me out of another air lock or fermenting bucket I don't need This trip I am going to look at a new boil kettle wish me luck.

I tried to bring the girlfriend one time, she was not good at keeping me from getting stuff I don't need either.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #10
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I usually do about half and half. Cost is a big factor... as is availability. My LHBS is really excellent, but due to schedule, cost, or product I sometimes can't do it.

My LHBS has a really great selection, but it's sometimes hit or miss on less popular items. It just doesn't make sense for them to stock a weird yeast with a 3 month shelf life... or the hundreds of variations on equipment parts.

I also like to DIY... (prices in this section are made up... and not a reflection on my LHBS I linked to above!!!!!) I'm not going to buy a $200 grain mill from a LHBS that's $175 online when I can make one for less than $50.

The LHBS is very important, but so are the online places that have anything and everything I need. (They don't cater only to people so rural there's no LHBS within 100 miles)!

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