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Old 11-11-2012, 02:04 AM   #1
Theshorey
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Feb 2012
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Hey All, looking for some help from all the brewers on HBT...

I am doing research into opening a LHBS, and I just wanted some input from the "uses" on what they want to see, what they usually buy locally, and in there are any LHBS owners/ operators what doesn't work.

I know the basics, hops, chems, beer kits etc., I'm just looking for info on the speciality stuff that people would buy local to save paying shipping etc.

Thanks in advance for all the help!
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:08 AM   #2
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Some other things I've bought at my lhbs: Growlers, tubing, plumbing, airlocks, beer glasses, bottles.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:52 AM   #3
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Enough space to look and walk around, cramped over packed show rooms suck.
Grain
Kits, good local kits
Brew gear; books, posters, shirts, ect.
Equipment on display

Friendly, knowledgeable staff
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:58 AM   #4
Phunhog
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Bulk grain and hops would be the top of my list. I have been to some brew shops that don't do bulk...they want you to pay 1.80 lb for 2 row!! Also it is EXTREMELY important to have knowledgeable staff....it bugs me when I know more than they do about brewing and they are getting paid for their knowledge.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:13 AM   #5
jevers
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Fresh yeast, bulk grains, diverse supply of specialty grains, good supply of hops. I like my LHBS but hate how many times I've been in there for a specific hop variety or some specialty grain and they have been out of it.

 
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:36 AM   #6
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Carnegie, PA
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Probably the best feature at my LHBS is they let you buy a bag of grain at the bulk price and then just "debit" the weight of grain you pick up each time you come in and get your ingredients. Very cool for base malts -- you can take all the advantages of bulk buying, and don't have to worry about storage or freshness.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:47 AM   #7
Theshorey
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Feb 2012
Oakland, ME
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Very good input so far, keep it coming please! Also what sizes of tubing are most popular, I assume 1/4, 5/16, and maybe 3/8"?
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:24 PM   #8
Fizzycist
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3/8 and 1/4 definitely. Ditto on the beer glasses comment, I can't find any good ones without buying online.
Mostly you need to be friendly and helpful without being a know-it-all. From what I've read and experienced the single most important piece to running an in-store (as opposed to internet order) specialty shop (like a LHBS) is being friendly so people want to come back.
Don't worry about having absolutely everything; customers won't begrudge you for not having their 23/32" glass-lined rubbed bronze keg lines.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Silicone tubing in 1/2 and 3/8.
Ball and pin lock keg parts.
SS hardware; couplers, valves, Tees, QD's
Kent QD's; they are great and cheap!
The ability to special order anything you don't carry in stock
Staff that listens and helps, rather than question and ridicule.
Plenty of room, think about enough room to maybe do onsite classes in basic and advanced brewing.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:50 PM   #10
shoggoth
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Apr 2012
Lincoln, Nebraska
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My LHBS sells 2-row for $7.50/5lbs. I can get it online, even with shipping, for significantly less. Specialty grains, hops and yeast are also significantly cheaper online. As an example, dry yeast at my LHBS is $5.00 but I can order it for roughly $3.00. Since I'm ordering ingredients anyway, I tend to simply add any other little things I need to my order and avoid the LHBS for everything but emergency items.

I don't know if the economics make sense, but if I was planning a LHBS I would try to price basic ingredients as competitively as possible. If my LHBS had good prices on the basics I would probably visit them once or twice a month. While I was picking up my grains I might be tempted by some cool glassware or other (more profitable) items.

Now whether you can keep the lights on with that sort of scheme I have no idea.

 
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