Weird Comments at the LHBS

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GreenwoodRover

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I frequent about 3 different LHBS in the Chicago area (I know I'm lucky to be out and about for work a lot and it's nice we have a lot of options in Chicago).
I grabbed some misc stuff totaling about $35. While he was ringing me up i tried to strike up a conversation with the guy by asking if he had any plans for the AHA big brew day (I've gotten at least one email from another LHBS describing their plans for an instore group brew, with free food and homebrew swap), but his reply was "I have know idea what you're talking about." I went on to explain it but he cut me off midstride and explained that:
"he works the store for up to 60hrs a week 6 days a week and doesn't have time for all the clubs and competitions and stuff. Additionally he already brews twice a week and that's more than enough. He also went on to explain that he doesn't like sharing his brew or giving out samples because he doesn;t think its real good and sometimes even after 5 years at it it still doesn't always turn out. I mentioned dropping a plug for him on HBT he mentioned that he stays away from all the "online crap, the boards and such***"

WOW - I wished him luck and left, probably to never return.

In the case of the AHA Big Brew I would think it's a great opportunity to get more people into your place of business and increase your sales.
He's a newer owner and younger guy, but I'd think a LHBS is definately one of the types of businesses that if you're going to get into it you need to eat, sleep and breathe, brewing and all it's related events.

He did also mention that by head count he gets about 2-3X as many brewers as wine guys, but the wine guys spend about 10X as mich as the brewers, maybe that's the source of his lax attitude regarding brew related events.

***Disclaimer, not a direct, verbatim quote, but the general gist of a 10minute discussion.
 

OLB

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I am willing to bet that the LHBS in question is the one in Elmhurst. If that is the case, it only confirms my experience shopping there in the past. I am sure that the other place that will be holding the group brew is Perfect Brewing. They are much more out of my way but the one time I did shop there it was a very good experience. When I mentioned I was getting the final items before my first brew, Billy offered to give me his opinion and help on it if I brought in a sample.
 

humann_brewing

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I got the same lax attitude at my LHBS. I go in there all pumped up about brewing and buying this stuff and try asking questions that are brewing related and I just get this feeling like he doesn't even care and just wants me to get out of the store. This attitude combined with their outrageous prices is why I don't go there anymore and the fact that they are only open until 4:30 mon - fri and a few hours on Saturday.
 
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GreenwoodRover

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That's why I asked him, one of the other chicago area places (ie a competitor) is giving away all the ingredients to do one of the 2 AHA recipes (your choice) to the first 8 people to sign up to brew (bring your own equipment).

If I had more AG batches under my belt and/or frequented that store more (which I will in the future) I would definately sign up...

EDIT:
Good guesses OLB... Billy is the man. If you haven't been to a party up at that store I would suggest it, I'm definately going to attend their thing on the 2nd...
 

HSM

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Dude! Did you miss the part where this was his JOB and worked 60 hrs at 6 days a week?

This may be all ****s and giggles to you, but try to understand where he is coming from. Perhaps some customer skills are in order for the guy.

It's funny that we expect the LHBS to be a hangout, chat room, etc. The dude behind the counter may be wishing for a little time at home.
 

the_bird

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If he's not enjoying the work and his customers, he picked one hell of a career. I mean, you don't own a homebrew shop for the $$.
 

HSM

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If he's not enjoying the work and his customers, he picked one hell of a career. I mean, you don't own a homebrew shop for the $$.
Seriously? Do you do it for Free? Like every retailer they make a profit or they would not do it... period. If the guy feels slighted and has a choice, and it sounds like he does, go elsewhere.
 

flyangler18

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It's funny that we expect the LHBS to be a hangout, chat room, etc. The dude behind the counter may be wishing for a little time at home.
Yeah, but a very big part of homebrewing is the camaraderie that happens in the LHBS. My LHBS (well, not really that local) sponsors our homebrew club, and Bob would pretty much give you the shirt off his back - and he's using his store/BOP as a staging ground for the AHA Big Brew.

I certainly don't hold LHBS owners to higher standards, but running the shop ain't all about the $$.
 

jackson_d

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My LHBS is one in chicago too. I have mixed reviews. Some of the brewing guys are great, the one guy working the pots and kettles and kegs in the back is always handing out little samples. The other guy gets all excited to see people upgrading their stuff and asking Qs about new grains and stuff... BUT my LHBS also happnes to sell growing equipt. Some of the guys who are the growing guys are rude and act like its a chore for them to ring you up despite sitting behing the counter next to the register.... Eh, such is life i guess. It is funny to me though that almost everyone in there to buy growing equipt looks like they were just smokin some serious ish....
 

Brewpastor

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I would see this as a marketing opportunity. It also can be an "open the doors and play host" kind of event that happens while the store is already open. I understand the issue of brewing being a Busman's Holiday for the LHBS owners, but if you are already there working, why not try to get a little more traffic flowing through the doors. Besides, if you brew twice a week for five years and it still tastes like crap, maybe it is time to watch some other folks brew!
 

blackwaterbrewer

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please don't support the miserable, self-absorbed, "i'm more important than you" pricks of the world. there are way too many. if no one gives them money or food, they will die off eventually.
 

the_bird

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Seriously? Do you do it for Free? Like every retailer they make a profit or they would not do it... period. If the guy feels slighted and has a choice, and it sounds like he does, go elsewhere.
I fully expect my homebrew shops to make money; I'm happy to pay more for a local guy.

If he's there JUST to make money... why's he own a shop in the first place? We don't have a caste system, there are lots of other jobs he could have and/or stores that he could run - and likely make a LOT more money doing so!

If you're a miserable prick running a homebrew shop, you're a ******* because there are plenty of other occupations where you can be a miserable ******* AND make a better paycheck.
 

GunnerMan

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I woulda told him "Well if 60 hours is to much, ill buy elsewhere and try to ease your workload."
 

Brewpastor

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there is nothing like being bitched at by a store owner who you are trying to do business with. I agree, Darwin's law needs to run its course for these guys.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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Here's how I feel about people who don't like their job: Get a new one! No amount of money is worth doing something you resent. If you don't like kids, maybe you shouldn't be a teacher. I you don't like talking about brewing, maybe working at the LHBS isn't for you. If you hate computers, don't go to school to be a software developer. In other news, poking yourself in the eye hurts.


OK, if the job pays over $300k then I'd deal with it! :D
 
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GreenwoodRover

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He really wasn't being a total jerk and it probably came off that way in my original post so for that I need to clarify. More of just a general naivete/lackadasical attitude. He genuinely helps people with questions (I've overheard some of the advice and it generally OK), but it just struck me as odd that the marketing opportunities of participating in chat rooms and AHA stuff like the Big Brew day or even hosting your own events to get traffic didn't really dawn on him. I sincerely hope he does well, but i think I'll take a break from his shop for a while and focus more on the other one (eventhough it's about 20min further away).
 

SkewedBrewing

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My LHBS is one in chicago too. I have mixed reviews. Some of the brewing guys are great, the one guy working the pots and kettles and kegs in the back is always handing out little samples. The other guy gets all excited to see people upgrading their stuff and asking Qs about new grains and stuff... BUT my LHBS also happnes to sell growing equipt. Some of the guys who are the growing guys are rude and act like its a chore for them to ring you up despite sitting behing the counter next to the register.... Eh, such is life i guess. It is funny to me though that almost everyone in there to buy growing equipt looks like they were just smokin some serious ish....
Ha, you would be talking about the Brew and Grow off of Elston... I go there too, quite frequently, and every time I go I get shot down by one of the people who work there for the "growing" aspect.

The only time I go there now is on a Saturday (unless I desperately need something) because that's when the brewing guys are in and its completely night and day in terms of how they treat you...

He really wasn't being a total jerk and it probably came off that way in my original post so for that I need to clarify. More of just a general naivete/lackadasical attitude. He genuinely helps people with questions (I've overheard some of the advice and it generally OK), but it just struck me as odd that the marketing opportunities of participating in chat rooms and AHA stuff like the Big Brew day or even hosting your own events to get traffic didn't really dawn on him. I sincerely hope he does well, but i think I'll take a break from his shop for a while and focus more on the other one (eventhough it's about 20min further away).
I would still have to say that he sounds like he isn't that into hearing all that you have to say about brewing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it still isn't good proprietorship...
 

bad coffee

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sounds to me like the guy turned a hobby into a full time job and lost all the excitement.

Email him a link to this thread.

B
 

slimer

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He just bought that store from the old guy that used to own it. I've had mixed reviews from the Elmhurst store for a long time.

Last time I was there, they only had 5 liquid yeast packs. Total.

I then went to B&G in Roselle and that place was great. They had everything I needed.
 

The Pol

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Maybe he was having a bad day. I mean, I LOVE my job, but I admit that there are days when after multiple breakdowns and delays, by the 15th hour in that friggin aircraft, I HATE MY JOB! I just leave the flight deck door closed and locked and refuse to greet or say goodbye to the passengers. My crew knows to leave me alone until the next morning.

This does not happen often, but regardless of how spiritually enlightened you may be, there is a physical and mental point of saturation.
 

Schlenkerla

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Maybe he was having a bad day. I mean, I LOVE my job, but I admit that there are days when after multiple breakdowns and delays, by the 15th hour in that friggin aircraft, I HATE MY JOB! I just leave the flight deck door closed and locked and refuse to greet or say goodbye to the passengers. My crew knows to leave me alone until the next morning.

This does not happen often, but regardless of how spiritually enlightened you may be, there is a physical and mental point of saturation.
I had a boss that was like this. When he was annoyed his answers were only yes & no and he didn't make eye contact. Any attempt to get more out of him meant you need to be ready for a pissing match. I knew to steer clear of him until he approached me. In general, he will get back to me and ask how's this and that is going now. I'd know its OK whatever was pissing him off is out of the picture. At first it seemed personal, but after awhile you just know he's in a mood and that he needs to be left alone.
 

chumprock

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No amount of money is worth doing something you resent.
I get paid really well for my misery, it's not such an easy choice.


Last time I was there, they only had 5 liquid yeast packs. Total.
Our LHBS wont even sell liquid yeast packs anymore. He said too many expired before he could sell them.

You people with multiple HB shops should consider yourself lucky you even have a choice.

In Rochester, we have:

A hydroponic gardening store that decided to make a homebrew shop out of extra space in the store. Every time I go there its a mess and the employees rarely have any information to offer for brewing.

A monstrously-huge beer store which is really good for buying already made beer but their homebrew supplies are more of an afterthought, and a bit pricey.

And that's it. There used to be a couple better shops, but they went the way of the dodo a long time ago.
Now I tend to buy pretty much everythign online, but when you have a last minute need, one of the options above might be able to help.

Might.
 

Rhoobarb

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He just bought that store from the old guy that used to own it. ...
Yeah, and I had heard that he was going to focus on the beer end more than the wine end and seemed anxious to turn the place around. He seems to have gotten past the 'honeymoon' phase of his business. I haven't been inside that store since I bought my first brewing equipment - in 1978!
I then went to B&G in Roselle and that place was great. They had everything I needed.
My favorite local because it is near work (S'burg), everyone is friendly, they have a very good selection, give samples and the samples are always good! I'd like go to Perfect Brewing, but they are just too far away.
 

Homercidal

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One of the LHBS stores I've been in was a place in Traverse City. They sell some things in the back, but the main business is hats. Yes, it's a hat shop. Now, I'm not a hat guy, so take it for what it's worth, but hats? They got a LOT of hats. A disappointing selection of brewing and winemaking stuff, and no bulk stuff. And they keep the hops out of the fridge.

Luckily it's not the closest LHBS for me. I can drive 1.5 hours to go to a really nice one in Grand Rapids.

That owner from the start of the thread ought to realize that when he's talking to customers, he needs to smile and pretend he likes brewing as much as he does. And if he brews as much as he says, a doesn't share, then maybe that's his problem right htere!
 

The Pol

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I had a boss that was like this. When he was annoyed his answers were only yes & no and he didn't make eye contact. Any attempt to get more out of him meant you need to be ready for a pissing match. I knew to steer clear of him until he approached me. In general, he will get back to me and ask how's this and that is going now. I'd know its OK whatever was pissing him off is out of the picture. At first it seemed personal, but after awhile you just know he's in a mood and that he needs to be left alone.
Part of the issue is that it is my responsibility to take care of the issues. Flight attendants defer thier issues to me, the FO defers issues to me... it is nice for them, but they also realize that there are times when I am saturated. They are concerned about going out and drinking that night, I am concerned about being the one responsible.

Maybe the dude behind the counter owns the place... no excuse, but bad days happen, rent comes due, payments go unpaid... stuff happens. I could never imagine the stress of being a business owner.

I dont have any relationships in the LHBS that I go to... they have no interest in me, I dont have much in them either. I need goods, they need money, it works for us.
 

Cpsurfer

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That's why I asked him, one of the other chicago area places (ie a competitor) is giving away all the ingredients to do one of the 2 AHA recipes (your choice) to the first 8 people to sign up to brew (bring your own equipment).

If I had more AG batches under my belt and/or frequented that store more (which I will in the future) I would definately sign up...

EDIT:
Good guesses OLB... Billy is the man. If you haven't been to a party up at that store I would suggest it, I'm definately going to attend their thing on the 2nd...
Perfect Brewing is AWESOME!
 

smizak

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I thank my lucky stars everytime I walk into Niagara Tradition, my LHBS.

Niagara Traditions Homebrew Supply : Welcome to Niagara Traditions Homebrew Supply

It's literally 5 minutes away from me. I could forget hops, yeast and a freakin fermenter if I wanted too, drive there and be back at home before the mash is halfway done. Great people who know brewing and are involved with their customers. Great holiday parties, instructive classes, zero attitude.
 

Stef1966

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Yeah, but a very big part of homebrewing is the camaraderie that happens in the LHBS. My LHBS (well, not really that local) sponsors our homebrew club, and Bob would pretty much give you the shirt off his back - and he's using his store/BOP as a staging ground for the AHA Big Brew.
For me im like the opposite, the owner of the LHBS where i go is of the very talkative and welcoming type and always loves to chat longly with clients and stuff, while his wife who does the weekend shift hardly doesn't talk if any at all and is always quick to cash the items you want to buy and be done with it.

Well i always try to go to the store during the weekends, not being much of a socializer myself, i prefer to talk about homebrew on the Internet rather than in 3D life.

Most people in 3D always like to argue about this method being better than yours because this and that... i hate to argue in 3D.

Weird... but true. :)
 

JVD_X

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Seriously? Do you do it for Free? Like every retailer they make a profit or they would not do it... period. If the guy feels slighted and has a choice, and it sounds like he does, go elsewhere.
The path to success is caring for your customers as much as you care about yourself. If you care about your customers and take the time needed to discover their concerns and needs the money will come. In fact, it's the wierdo's that hide behind the "wall of productivity" that are a burden to business.

If are finding yourself working 60 hours a week IN AN ONGOING SITUATION and the vast majorioty of that time is NOT spent in contact with your custoimers it's because of two reasons:

1) You are not managing your time well or prioritizing your activities

2) You are not effective.

Period...

I would much rather work with someone who works 40 hours a week an accomplishes 90% of his/her stated goals on a regular basis with high quality and is HAPPY rather than someone that finishes 95% of the goal in 60 hours with equal quality and is UNHAPPY. I mean... is that 5% worth the extra 20 hours of work? The vast majority of time it is not.

I have seen employees that accomplish more in 8 hours with better results on a continual basis than that wacho employee that works 60 hours to accomplish the same thing and doesn't actually bring in any more business. That is no joke or exaggeration.
 
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my "LHBS" is an hour away and very unfriendly as I've stated here before. I thought, after talking with the guy on the phone 2 times, I was in luck in finding another one also an hour away but in a different direction in Athens OH. But after visiting it last weekend I found the shop to be very disorganized and filthy and just outright gross. I would not purchase anything from this place in fear of it instantly infecting my home brewery. I was very disappointed because the guy on the phone was very exciting to talk to, and in person, also is very nice and seems thoroughly excited about homebrewing, but he and his shop simply disgusted me on a cleanliness level. Back to NB for me. which I have nothing but praise for, it would just be nice to have something local.
 

HenryHill

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I frequent about 3 different LHBS in the Chicago area (I know I'm lucky to be out and about for work a lot and it's nice we have a lot of options in Chicago).
I grabbed some misc stuff totaling about $35. While he was ringing me up i tried to strike up a conversation with the guy by asking if he had any plans for the AHA big brew day (I've gotten at least one email from another LHBS describing their plans for an instore group brew, with free food and homebrew swap), but his reply was "I have know idea what you're talking about." I went on to explain it but he cut me off midstride and explained that:
"he works the store for up to 60hrs a week 6 days a week and doesn't have time for all the clubs and competitions and stuff. Additionally he already brews twice a week and that's more than enough. He also went on to explain that he doesn't like sharing his brew or giving out samples because he doesn;t think its real good and sometimes even after 5 years at it it still doesn't always turn out. I mentioned dropping a plug for him on HBT he mentioned that he stays away from all the "online crap, the boards and such***"

WOW - I wished him luck and left, probably to never return.

In the case of the AHA Big Brew I would think it's a great opportunity to get more people into your place of business and increase your sales.
He's a newer owner and younger guy, but I'd think a LHBS is definately one of the types of businesses that if you're going to get into it you need to eat, sleep and breathe, brewing and all it's related events.

He did also mention that by head count he gets about 2-3X as many brewers as wine guys, but the wine guys spend about 10X as mich as the brewers, maybe that's the source of his lax attitude regarding brew related events.

***Disclaimer, not a direct, verbatim quote, but the general gist of a 10minute discussion.
The first bold quote is enough to make get my suspicions up, the second bold quote affirms it.

I would have laughed in the guy's face and walked out, never to return. ;)
 

bsruther

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I like my LHBS just fine. They aren't overly friendly but, they answer any questions I have. I don't have to stand there and wait while some jabberjaw consumes all of their time yacking. They have great turnaround on their inventory. I stopped in monday for a kit and their shelves were almost bare. They had to make one up for me. It's a no nonsense store that doesn't seem to cater to anyone in particular and I like that a lot.
Listermann.Com - Home Page
 

farmbrewernw

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It sounds like this guy has it all wrong. The only way you'll be successful as a HBS owner is to be involved in your customers and the community. My LHBS owner is very friendly, keeps a stocked and clean shop, brews some special seasonal beers for a local brew pub, and even goes as far as giving classes at the local food co-op. Sure this is a lot of work but then again he keeps his shop open 35hrs a week to give him time to do the other stuff that keeps people coming in to his shop. If I was to have a shop this would be the model I would want to follow.
 
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I like my LHBS just fine. They aren't overly friendly but, they answer any questions I have. I don't have to stand there and wait while some jabberjaw consumes all of their time yacking. They have great turnaround on their inventory. I stopped in monday for a kit and their shelves were almost bare. They had to make one up for me. It's a no nonsense store that doesn't seem to cater to anyone in particular and I like that a lot.
Listermann.Com - Home Page
I've heard good things of this store from my friends father who live in Cincy. It's where he gets everything. i plan on giving it a stop in sometime when we're down visiting. Do they have Brew on premise by chance?

I see they just got a license to brew and sell! Very cool.
 

the_merlin

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Being friendly goes a long way and it has nothing to do with the industry. If you are in a customer-facing position, you are held to a higher standard of service than someone in the back office. In Charlotte, there's a Grower's Outlet that I refuse to go to anymore because the old man running the place acts like my patronage is an inconvenience. I'm also sure to mention to friends and family to not bother with visiting. Heaven forbid your credit card magnetic strip doesn't register the first time and must be swiped again!
 

RC0032

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The dudes at Brew and Grow (in the city) are all about growing pot. I'm convinced of it. They always look and act stoned! And that dog wtf is that dogs deal?

GreenwoodRover - Details on the brewday? I must have missed that one. I would love to swing by :)
 

ClutchDude

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If a business wants to run the way that guy said, then let him. Before I moved to Tallahassee and was visiting here, I could only drop by the local HBS on monday's, when they are closed. I called and told them I could make it worth the 20 minutes to open up for me on that day. They were more than happy to do so and all I had to do is buy stuff!

From now on, I'll buy from them unless I need something exotic(usually draft/brew system parts) they cannot get.
 
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