What do beer and gardens
have in common? Profits
Many brewing supply store owners have recently been
forced to think of new and creative ways to sell their products. Many,
unfortunately, have not made it.
If some of these closed shops had heard of the
experience of Scott Day, maybe things could have been different.
Eight years ago, Day left California and moved to
Livonia, Mich., to open a store called Brew and Grow with a partner. The
name came from the stores emphasis both on indoor gardening equipment
and brewing supplies.
"We decided to open an adult toy store, more or
less," Day said.
Even during homebrewings heyday, Day recognized he
needed something else to sell besides brewing supplies. And although
indoor gardening and homebrewing may seem like two totally different
hobbies well, they are both have one thing in common:
They attract diehard customers who will stay for
years with a shop that provides them good service and supplies.
Another reason Day selected homebrewing and indoor
gardening supplies as products was because Livonia at the time did not
have a dominant store in either field.
In other words, he made his store into something that
was attractive to local customers. Because it is cold in Livonia during
the winter, residents are unable to garden during much of the year, as
they are in other parts of the country. So the hobby has attracted those
interested in year-round fresh vegetables and fruits.
"You can create mother nature right in your
house," he said.
Volume-wise, the store is split about 50-50 between
brewing and gardening supplies. But revenue-wise, the store earns more
from the gardening supplies, Day said.
One reason Day, 35, has been successful in both
hobbies is because he provides quality ingredients. He began carrying
White Labs yeast two years ago. He stopped ordering yeast from other
companies soon thereafter because it expired before anyone bought it.
Customers were attracted to White Labs yeast because
of the packaging and the results. "Everybody loves that
stuff," he said.
In the meantime he is watching the homebrewing scene
evolve and is somewhat puzzled that other stores have not branched out
and attempted to attract a wider customer base. He has heard of stores
selling bicycles and homebrewing supplies, but the list of stores
focusing on things other than products for homebrewers is somewhat
Still, that did not stop him from advising a friend
who was interested in opening up a homebrewing shop to offer something
else. The friend did not take the advise and two years later he closed
Day probably won't be joining his friend anytime
soon. In fact, he is branching out once again. He and a partner are
seriously exploring the idea of contracting with a brewer to make their
own beer, which they would then sell throughout the region.
Selling homebrewing supplies has not only opened his
eyes to a fun and lucrative hobby, it also has also become a big part of
his current and future business plans.
"Beer is a fun thing to love," he said.
Brew and Grow is located at 33523 Eight Mile Road, Suite F5, Livonia,