LHBS Dilema

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Looking for opinions here. I firmly believe in supporting your LHBS but
my 1.5 stores are very small. The larger one has canned kits, Brewers
Best kits, seperate LME, DME and hops, 2row barley and Wheat for
ingredients. The closer and smaller one only has Brewesr Best kits,
although she will order what I want, but I can do that online. Here is
my problem I want to support these stores but I also want more
ingredients on hand. If I keep buying there (along with others) maybe
they will get more stuff.  I guess if i want to go all the way I either
have to let them order it and wait or just order it myself and wait.
Just looking for opinions?? In the mean-time I'll just sit back and
enjoy some homebrew.

Buzz


Re: LHBS Dilema


Is it more expensive to order through your LHBS than directly online?
It usually is but not always. If you get good service there (like they
suggest solutions to problems or help in other ways) I would suggest
ordering through them. Nothing in my experience beats customer service.

On the other hand, if they're rude and treat you like there's no other
place to go, order online.

Dave
www.homebrew-exchange.com


Re: LHBS Dilema


I agree with Dave.

I'm in a similar situation to you. However, the LHBS where I live are
more focused on wine making than beer making. For them, homebrewing is
only a sideline to winemaking and I don't get very good service from
them. When I ask for something specific for my brew and they don't have
it in store, I may get answer like "Why do you want this ? Just take a
kit and stop bothering". As a result, I order most of my ingredients
online and only go to the LHBS as a last option for urgent needs or for
things too big to be ship conveniently by mail.


Re: LHBS Dilema


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   Chalk up another one.  I don't see it as much of a dilemma.

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   I'm in the same boat, but my shop is even worse than yours.
However, more recently a big liquor store has been trying to
stock a decent breadth of homebrewing supplies, so I do pick
something up there every time I go in.  Unfortunately, they
seem to have more enthusiasm than anything else, as they can
be out of stock on some items for over a month at a time.
   The bottom line is that I buy from whatever source is
best (for any personal definition of "best") with no
regrets or hand-wringing.
--
Joel Plutchak          "People who drink wine with barbecue deserve to be
plutchak@[...]          jeered at and socially ostracized." - Mike Stewart

Re: LHBS Dilema


CarlJF wrote:
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I guess I'm lucky..  Beer-wine.com is very helpful when I go to t he store.
They are quick to ask if I need any help looking for things or ideas.  They do
both beer and wine, but do not have any preference when dealing with customers.

I think more beer brewers seem to come in the store, at least when I'm there.
The other place, modernbrewer.com is less helpful, but still make an effort.
My only issue now is price.. since the local places jacked the foreign LME
prices due to fuel increases.

--
Dan

Re: LHBS Dilema


CarlJF wrote:
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I was talking to my LHBS one day about this. They're of the impression
that if they hadn't begun selling winemaking equipment and kits, it
would have been very difficult to stay in business. Any hobby, they
noted, has its peaks and lows, and I guess homebrewing beer is in
somewhat of a decline...at least in numbers of people doing it now.

Dave
www.homebrew-exchange.com


Re: LHBS Dilema


Homebrew Exchange wrote:
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Really?  Yea think so?  I thought it was on the rise.

--
Dan

Re: LHBS Dilema


On Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:44:39 -0500, Dan Logcher

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Problem is that many homebrewers are turning to the internet for
purchasing.  They'll still go to the LHBS for advice or questions, but
they'll by online to save a few bucks.


Phil
======
visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:
http://www.hbd.org/nychg
Re: LHBS Dilema



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Alas the secret to marketing success is lowest prices, best services,
and best inventory.  An LHBS can alsways engage in the marketing
strategy of incorporating and selling shares to thir customers aka
a coop store.

Dick

Re: LHBS Dilema


Dick Adams wrote:

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Exactally.  If I can get everything I need online, cheaper.. the local
shop isn't offering me much other than the quick fix for those last minute
items.

My LHBS does quite a bit of online sales, yet their prices are considerably
higher than most other online stores.  Its nice to walk around in the store
and look for items I may need, but I don't think its worth the price increase.

--
Dan

Re: LHBS Dilema


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I am laughing because I brew on Mondays and my LHBS is closed on
Monday and Tuesday.  Since I can't drive, my wife takes me there
on  Saturday or Sunday.  So if I forgot something, I have two
problems.  They will not be open until Wednesday and I can't let
my wife know because she harps about planning and making certain
I have everything I need.

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Fortunately my LHBS prices are competitive with online stores and
then I get a 10% discount for being cute (or was it cause I'm a
member of one of the LHBC's).  I vote cute.

Dick

Re: LHBS Dilema


Dick Adams wrote:

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Nice!  My wife doesn't drink, just doesn't like the taste of alcohol.
So its probably not likely she'll pick me up my brewing goods.. though
she does pick me up beer or port on occasion.  Heh, maybe I'll ask if
she'll pick me up some LME and hops :)  Ihope you brew your wife something
she likes.

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Well, I try the cute thing.  But the guys at my LHBS don't seem to
think I am.. so I bring my 4 year old along and let him put his cute
face on.  Still no discount.  They think he's well behaved, but it ain't
getting me any % off.

--
Dan

Re: LHBS Dilema


On Tue, 28 Feb 2006 08:33:52 -0500, Dan Logcher


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Best services from an online shop?  And if your beer has an off
flavor, are you going to mail it to your online shop for advice?


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What about advice?


Phil
======
visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:
http://www.hbd.org/nychg
Re: LHBS Dilema


Phil wrote:

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Don't we get advice here?

--
Dan

Re: LHBS Dilema


Joel <plutchak AT see.headers> wrote:

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Joel, that is an insightful statement.

Dick

Re: LHBS Dilema



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After having attended the American Home Wine and Beer Trade Association
conferences, it is obvious that there are two kinds of stores - beer  and
wine stores.  Almost all do both, but they aways seem to emphisize one over
the other probably due to the interests of the founder.  Wine came late to
our store and we are really glad to have it.

While initally I did not believe it, I was always told that the home brew
biz was countercyclical.  The recession of the early 90's brought a spurt of
business to the hobby.  We opened our store in 95 to be just in time for the
huge expansion of the ninties. . . .  There was a big flushing of marginal
stores during this peroid.  We hung on due to our manufacturing and rent
collection from extra space.  The last recession, brought on by Greenspan's
increasing the discount rate 12 straight months, gave us double digit growth
rates.  While we are still growing, we have had to settle for single digit
growth.  The Fed has raised the discount rate, what, 14 straight months now?
You will please pardon me but I can't wait for the downturn!

Dan



Re: LHBS Dilema



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I would suggest talking to them about your issues. Maybe they will improve.
If you don't tell them your problems, they won't know there are problems.

Bob

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Re: LHBS Dilema



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I too belong to the "Support your LHBS" gang.  But they are not going
to have everything you want or need.  My LHBS is Maryland HomeBrew and
I'd give them a 10 for service.  

For supplies, they are excellent for beer and wine.  But I'm a mead guy
who brews beer and could care less about wine.  Their honey prices ($30
per gallon) are too high for me and they don't carry Fermax.  Their
website does not show all of their inventory.  So I buy honey in bulk
from DutchGold, Fermax from Grapestompers, and I periodically point out
what is not on thier website.  I ocassionally price shop with Austin
Homebrew, Listerman, and Midwest Supplies AND if the price difference
is really large, I tell them.

In your case, you might talk about this at a meeting of your LHBC (Local
Homebrew Club).  IMRHO the key to financial success of a LHBS is its
affiliation with LHBC's.  If I were to open a LHBS, one location
consideration would be immediate proximity to a restaurant or a saloon
where LHBC's could hold meetings or enough space to hold those meetings
at my store (definitely too costly at start-up time).  Maryland Homebrew
gives a 10% discount to brew club members as well as the military.  I
doubt this was an original idea to them.

Dick

Re: LHBS Dilema


Dick Adams wrote:

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I was too until they recently jacked up prices on malt extracts from
other countries..  I was paying $11.75 for a 3.3# can of Cooper's light,
and its now $13.50.  I found a place about 2 1/2 hours away that is
selling 6# of LME for $5.5, and hop pellets for $.095/oz.  Their shipping
will be cheap, since its not that far away..

--
Dan

Re: LHBS Dilema


Well thanks everyone. I guess I will have to try to work with them. The
hard part for me is I never know what I wnat until Im walking out of
the store with it. There really is no LHBC here. The only one has ties
to the LHBS and they havnt met in a long time. I talket to there
contact and he said he would let me know when they meet again. Again
thanks for the opinions.

Buzz


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