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Ajmassa

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I feel compelled post on this topic. Because even though shopping online is so convenient with usually good prices, I don't like it to be my only method used. Between this forum, google,YouTube, and sites like morewine.com, a basement dweller like myself really does not even need to leave the house anymore. But I think something is lost without some person to person interaction (in real life that is).
Maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones. I live and work a short drive from a few different Home Brew & Winemaking shops. And one in particular stands out from the rest. The shop is ran by people both younger and older. Brew shops are never crazy busy so the guys working won't think twice about shooting the breeze for however long your there. (Have talked for over an hour more than couple times) Whether your brand new or a seasoned pro, the very knowledgeable staff will never 'talk down' (which I've experienced elsewhere) and genuinely want to help. The shop does classes of many things (even cheese and soap making) and they always have some beer or wine recently bottled available for tasting.
The knowledge I gain from each visit is always beneficial, and is appreciated. Whereas sometimes it's easy to get hung up on details from online, a simple conversation there can really break things down and eliminate unneeded concerns. That's why sometimes I'll swing by after work for things even though I could get online for slightly cheaper. I enjoy my pit stops there, and make it a point to do so. I feel good about giving them my business because of how good the shop and staff are. I'm not in any 'cliques' or 'scenes' in the winemaking world aside from the forum, so my local shop has been a great shoulder to lean on just like I do here.
So if your lucky enough to have a decent local shop (with product and staff) I say SUPPORT THEM. They have a lot to offer and I'd hate to see them close up shop from online competitors.
Btw the name of my shop is Philly HomeBrew Outlet East. Plus as a dog person it's great to see the shop dog Milo hanging around the store every time I'm there.
This is not an advertisement!
 

grapeman

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It is always good to support local when you can. You are one of the lucky ones. There are countless stories of folks getting just plain bad advice from their local wine supply store so when you have a good one, keep it! I know I appreciate it when local people support my winery and I try to give them a good experience but lets face it, I can't be there all the time and I try to rely on educating my help so they can also give a good experience. That doesn't always work but when I see something or hear of something I don't like I try and set the help straight so next time they are better prepared.
 

Ajmassa

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I couldn't agree more. Good trustworthy help is worth its weight in gold. And I believe that to be the difference maker from an ok shop to a great shop that makes a customer compelled to return.
It could be that these people share ownership, giving them incentive to go above and beyond. But I'm pretty sure these people just genuinely love what they do and enjoy helping people. And also have the knowledge to do so.
Without that, as an owner you are probably left with the feeling "you want something done right you gotta do it yourself". Hopefully for you things work themselves out.
Like I said earlier, I may be just one of the lucky ones to feel so comfortable and welcome at my local home brew shop.
 

CheerfulHeart

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I agree about supporting local business if you can. I wish there was a LHBS closer than 3 hours away (6 hours round trip). I very much appreciate the online vendors I have found through WMT. Without them I could not make wine at all. Sometimes though I only need a small item like a packet of a particular yeast. Waiting 3 days for the mail can seem like a year. When I want to make wine, I want to start right away. No impatience here :)

A local shop with a good stock of merchandise and a staff with good knowledge is a treasure. Give Milo a pat on the head and a scratch behind the ears for me. :h
 
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heatherd

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Love my local store! Mine is Annapolis Homebrew, which is actually in Arnold, MD.

I get most things there, but they only carry WE kits and White Labs MLB, so I end up buying some things online. They're not less expensive on kits, so I buy online when I see a good, tempting sale from our forum sponsors or Fine Vine Wines.

I have never taken them up on it, but they essentially run a "hotline" for all the wine and beer makers in the area, so folks can call about anything they are making for help from the staff. They'll help people through making kits.

They have a Bengal shop cat named Chase, for her penchant for chasing after packets of yeast thrown by patrons and staff.
 

jswordy

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Yes, the OP is extremely lucky. There are zero full-line stores here. There is a brewing store, but no winemaking. There is a store that stocks SOME winemaking hardware and (usually out of date) yeast.

I also live 30 miles from the city. Hello, UPS and FedEx! You are my friends!
 

nwwoods

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Would love to support one of the LHBS near me, and agree there's much to be gained from the face to face conversation and learning from their experiences. I have yet to find a LHBS that has that and also has great prices.

This is the classic conflict versus the online shops who will most always win on price.

If you want or need advice or guidance, there are these forums or there are your LBHS. If you want or need the best price, online will almost always be the way to go.

It seems to me an extract brewer is exposed to this more than just about anyone. The price difference between a great extract kit and great beer from the store is small, so any price advantage makes it more worth your while.
 

Ajmassa

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The main idea I was trying to get across with posting this was to stress how beneficial having a great local shop really is. And after establishing a relationship it just continues to get even better.
And last but not least is to show how much I appreciate the shop I often buy items there in spite of the ability to save a couple bucks online. Items such as, sulfite, bungs, cleaner etc.. Items on the more expensive side like larger equipment or kits I still tend to shop and find a deal. I'm no Daddy Warbucks but I still will make the occasional impulsive larger purchase there rather than shop for a bargain.
 
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