So you want to open a beer store…

So you want to open a beer store…

Every year I receive nearly three dozen emails from strangers, seeking advice on becoming an entrepreneur, on opening a beer store. Some jump into the questions, with little introduction. Others give me an overview of their life situation, information on what leads them to this life choice.
And I reply to every one of these strangers...

Some try to butter me up. They complement my store, or mention if they’ve been in before.

With optimistic tone, each stranger question things to which I respond, “Sorry, we do not disclose that type of information.” Asking—

To be freely given our industry contacts that took us months–to–years to acquire.

To lay out all of our personal financial obligations for running the store;
from operational costs, to how and what I get paid.
(I’ll tell you this much: It’s not much!)

To help them become something else.

And I reply to every one of these strangers, unless their email notes enter the spam folder.

I answer what I can, and offer a few insights into what it’s been like running this kind of business.

In response,

Some reply with, a simple “thank-you.”

Several respond in follow-up; a few others in friendly exchanges.

To-date only one sent a grand opening announcement, to which I responded, sharing thoughts after visiting the start-up’s website.

Yet others extend no reply.

My dad’s voice resonates in my mind, his question: “Are you sure you want to do retail?” to this very day. First said to me over five years ago, it rings like a bell. Every time mean people enter the store. Every time a supplier screws me over. Every time the managers disagree. During every growth spurt and slow period, every failure and success, every day I realize the meaning those words. Sometimes I understand the misery behind the tone. But I also recall, observing the joys of personal success, fear and sadness and struggles, friendships — both formed and lost, and so much more. A life rich with family, integrity, structure, chaos. I knew a bit of what he meant by retail, working with family. But I didn’t fully understand. Until now.

So, you want to open a beer store: Are you sure you want to do retail?

Still with me? Go to Part 2: Research this for your beer store business plan.


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