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Old 11-08-2007, 02:36 PM   #1
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Default Mom & Pop Stores

I was listening to the Jamil show last night.
http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/jamil.php
He was suggesting that we support our LHBS. I would like to suggest that we support local stores in general.

Several years ago I was trying to get everyone I knew to rent vids from their local mom & pop store. My rational was I would rather give my money to someone who lives in the community than some fat cat down in Miami. Now the Blockbusters are all closing after running all the mom & pop’s out of business. Where do we go now to rent vids on the spur of the moment? S.O.L.?

While it is true that you can save a few $$$ sometimes buying online. What is going to happen when you need yeast today (now) and your LHBS is out of business? S.O.L.?

All this from a guy that has worked his entire carrier in manufacturing for someone else.

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Old 11-08-2007, 02:42 PM   #2
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I've tried to support the local guy as best I can, but for big purchases, it's hard... I mean, he's asking $220 for a Schmidling malt mill (and I'm not even sure it's one of the adjustable models). Given that the service I've received there from him employees has been spotty recently, that the quality of the crush I receive is terrible, and that he ain't really local anyway (it's almost a three hour round trip)...

I am buying whatever I can from another local guy that's also started a homebrew club. But, medicore businesses should not be given business simply because they're local; all things being equal, I'd rather drop the coin locally, but all things are not always equal.

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Old 11-08-2007, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Dog
I was listening to the Jamil show last night.
http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/jamil.php
He was suggesting that we support our LHBS. I would like to suggest that we support local stores in general.
First off, we don't have a LHBS. Second, I don't make enough $$ to spend a bunch more on something as an act of charity towards so-called "mom & pop shops". I go local on produce, etc., because it's simply better. I visit local shops when they have a more unique, specialized, exotic selection than the groceries, or when they're easier to get to than the big boxes. But due to the crappy hours, the lack of enough employees, and the poor selection relative to the boxes, I rarely hit up, for example, local hardware stores. No matter how much you want to support "the little guy", nothing sucks more than the effing hardware store being closed at 6pm or not having the right size bolt.

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Several years ago I was trying to get everyone I knew to rent vids from their local mom & pop store. My rational was I would rather give my money to someone who lives in the community than some fat cat down in Miami. Now the Blockbusters are all closing after running all the mom & pop’s out of business. Where do we go now to rent vids on the spur of the moment? S.O.L.?
Yeah, pretty much. Look at it this way: if there's not enough business to sustain a bricks-n-mortar Blockbuster, then there probably wouldn't be enough to support the local guy that used to be there. In other words, he'd be closing down just like WalMart...mainly due to online services like Netflix. If there IS enough business, and BB just shut down because of corporate issues, then there's an obvious economic vacuum just waiting to be filled by yet another local video store.

But, yeah, you might be SOL if there isn't enough market demand in your area to sustain a bricks-n-mortar video shop. I mean, I don't have a LHBS within 90 minutes of my house, but what are you gonna do?

The simple economic realities of the market are often more powerful a driver of consumer preference than your romantic visions of a bunch of cheery mom-n-pop shops on a tree-lined main street. Most people can't or won't afford to "go local" for most stuff just to support mom and pop. Myself included. Once I make my millions, then I'll think about charity. But even then, there are kids dying all over the world that could use my money more than mom and pop. Think about it this way: should I spend more at mom and pop shops as a charity to them, or should I shop at WalMart and send the money I save to kids dying of malnutrition in africa? Not so easy to say "go local" then.
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:03 PM   #4
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Wow not quite the response that I was expecting however this is good too.

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Old 11-08-2007, 03:08 PM   #5
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Well, I just tend to take a rational approach to things. As nice as it would be to have a LHBS, it's just not rational to pay a LOT more for a (probable) substandard selection. I've never seen a local homebrew shop that had the selection of AHS or Midwest. I'm sure they exist (like, say, if you leave near the actual location of AHS), but they're the exception. And it costs more too, usually.

No offense, honestly. I just see, all too often, towns rally against WalMart because they don't want a big box store in their vicinity...but once they build it, those same townspeople go there and shop because it's cheaper, has a better selection, and has better hours.

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XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:28 PM   #6
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I used to have a "local" HBS about 10 miles away, but they closed years ago.
Today the closest places are about 20 miles away (30 minute drive), or 40 miles away (45-60 minutes). The further place is where I frequent the most because of the knowlege/helpfulness of the staff.

Equipment I will usually web order because of prices, but so far for brewing ingredients I'm still shopping "locally".

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Old 11-08-2007, 03:29 PM   #7
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I have a semi-local HBS that's just a bit under a 1 hour drive each way. In my monster truck that 80 miles round-trip costs me probaby $12-$18 in gas.

I pay $1.90/lb at the LHBS for the same pale malt that I can get from AHS for $1.35/lb and it cost me 1/3 as much to have it shipped from over 1,000 miles away as it would for me to drive there myself. Plus AHS actually knows how to crush grains.

It's just not economical for me.

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Old 11-08-2007, 03:50 PM   #8
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A close friend and I were talking about this very sort of thing two days ago. He was laughing about how excited I currently am doing the homebrew thing. He asked if I had any grand plans of selling beer, or making it for a living one day, and like so many of my hobbies I told him it would probably ruin the fun of the whole thing.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand... I was telling him that I'd really love to have a shop that sold specialty items to like-minded people. I can't see how one could really become successful these days with a store that specialized in just one thing though. I'd love to see a hobby shop that represented a greater spectrum then just one genre of person, and possibly have more of a masculine slant, not to be really biased, but I don't see lines of guys at most craft stores. It'd also have to really cater to the kind of customer who'd be willing to pay that little bit more than the online price to have what they really needed immediately rather then waiting for a number of days for shipping.

My hobbies include beermaking , radio control modeling, amateur radio, computers, motorcycling, cooking, and fishing, just to name a few. The ladies seem to have places like Michael's Crafts to get assorted googdies that they need for everything from scrapbooking to needlepoint to painting, where's the same kind of store for the guys (or ladies with stereotypical "guy" hobbies)?

Anyone know where the LHBS, r/c, tackle, electronic, parts store is that's nearby? Oh yeah, it has to be open till at least midnight, and weekends, to accommodate my needs during my time off, not during the time I'm at work.

That's why I end up buying so much online, there's no such store. Now I just need to win the lotto and open my own place like this, only the customer service would suck because I'd be wanting to play with all the merchandise too much to actually help anyone out with it !

Umm, yeah, sorry if that doesn't make too much sense, I may have rambled at bit..
Matt

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Old 11-08-2007, 03:56 PM   #9
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I support mine for grains, yeast & hops and misc equipment (hoses, adapters). When it comes to kegging or other higher $ equipment I go online. He just costs too much. I just bought a barley crusher online because LHBS had crap for a selection and twice as much.

But, then again I have a darn good LHBS who is cost competitive on ingredients and convenience is always high priority to me. I decide to brew usually 1-2 days before. This is a side business for my LHBS owner and he hires college guys for the most part to run the storefront. He has a real job too...

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Old 11-08-2007, 04:01 PM   #10
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The other problem with mom + pop places is freshness. If the local place doesn't have terribly high turnover, should you continue giving them your business if it means your beer will suffer? I'll usually buy specialty ingredients like rauchmalt online, since I know NB's going to rotate through the sacks of that a lot quicker than Hennessy, and if I were an extract brewer I would have to consider how long the LME had sat around before I bought it.

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