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Old 11-11-2012, 01:10 AM   #1
Theshorey
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Default LHBS Stuff

Hello All, I am looking into opening a LHBS and wanted some input from the home wine makers here on HBT.

I know the basics, wine kits, chems, etc., but I'm interested in what you would like to see at your LHBS, or what you order online, but wouldn't mind buying local to save on the shipping...

Thanks in advance for all the help!

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Old 11-11-2012, 02:36 AM   #2
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Hm. I wish mine carried Better Bottles. I'd also like to have some of the ha cha wine kits available. Mine has some and I'm sure they're good but they're pretty basic.

Also, keep your place organized and label things on shelves or in cubbies. Newbies hate having to ask "what is this" about some piece of equipment.

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:23 AM   #3
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Consider rental of high priced items like apple grinder, fruit press, crusher/destemmer, floor corker, etc. Wine concentrate like Alexander's or such. Arrangement for fresh grapes or even pails. A few honey options.

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Old 11-11-2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input, I was thinking about the honey already sine there is a fairly large apiary not too far away, but being in maine they ship all their bees to florida for the winter.... Gonna keep working on it though....

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Old 11-11-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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There are a few things that I do not like about my local shops so I will offer those to you as things to avoid:

1) Scuffed, dusty wine kits. If it looks as though it has been lost in the store room for two years, I do not want it. Rotate the stock, keep it fresh, keep it looking fresh and be prepared to bite the bullet and discount the kits that reach end-of-shelf life.

2) Unwillingness to make a special order for a kit. Both of my LHBSs stock wine kits from suppliers who include Pinotage kits in their range. The stores do not stock it because they do not believe that there is enough demand. I have specifically asked in both stores if they would be able to order these for me but neither shop can be bothered.

3) Tiny quantities of cleaning chemicals. In a busy weekend, I might bottle three six gallon batches of wine and beer, rack another three and start three new batches. I will get through a lot of bottle wash and steriliser. More than is in the tiny bottles and sachets in the shop. Stock it in large bags or, better still, let me bring in a tub and you chuck in five pounds from your bulk supply. Less packaging and less work for you and you get to sell me larger quantities.

4) One LHBS is about fifteen minutes away from work and I would love to be able to get there on a weekday on the way home from work but it is not to be as they always shut at five in the afternoon. Being open until eight one evening a week, or even one evening a month would be a help.

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Old 11-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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Take credit/debit cards! It's amazing how few LHBS's do this. I know it cuts into profits a little, but some days it could mean the difference between me buying local or buying online.

Speaking of buying online, a lot of homebrew supply websites are very - how do you say - web 1.0? Having a nice website would probably help differentiate you from the other shops that just threw up a website without much thought. You could end up shipping all over the world, especially if your prices are competitive.

Provide local or unique-to-your-area ingredients. Work with suppliers in the area - honey is an excellent example. Also, I think it's cool that my LHBS sells stuff for making just about anything edible, from cheese, to hot sauce, to beef jerky to vinegar and even home distillation stuff (for water purification purposes only, of course).

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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Oh, and offer discount to wine making club members, or beer making club members. Or better yet, have your own store loyalty program, etc. Giveaways are awesome too!

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #8
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Host a monthly homebrewers meeting - maybe even expand to some brew on premises operations.

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Old 11-18-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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Teaming up with local homebrew clubs is the best idea thrown out thus far. It'll go leagues in getting the name out. In conjunction with them and local suppliers, host a few events every other month or so. How to seminars, brew tastings and hotdogs, etc. Not that you're taking ideas from Northern B.., but if the model works...

Also +1 on a website, very few locals seem to have anything decent (if at all).

It's a daunting idea, and best of luck!!!!

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