Not Our Brew Shop

not_cleveland_brewThis weekend was chock full of fantastic.  We had an absolutely amazing time – a much needed recharge after the ‘return to work’ syndrome we were experiencing.  I’ll leave the first-hand account of all the awesome to Bryan though, while I focus my energy and reflect a 1-minute encounter we had in a near-west side neighborhood on Saturday evening.

Tremont is a neighborhood that has experienced major gentrification over the last 10 years.  It started, as they all probably do, with home remodels, hip restaurants and bars, and snowballed from there.  It still has a lot of charm – some of the properties are beautiful.  The foodies love it because a lot of the best restaurants in town are there along with galleries, the obligatory coffee and vintage shops- you name it.  We like to visit the summer art shows and art walks.  There’s a pizza place and pub named Edison’s that we frequent (but never on a Saturday night after 8 or 9).

Over the last year or so we’ve attempted to go to Tremont a number of times.  Once for dinner for my birthday and on other random evenings just looking for something to do.  The outcome is always the same.  Either it’s 9:30 and we’re still expected to wait 45 minutes to be seated or there are bouncers at the bar entrances to keep the floods of hipsters under control.  ONE night was amazing. We stopped in a place called the Tremont Taphouse, had great beers, great calamari and a quiet evening sitting at the bar.  We made the mistake of trying to go back ONE time.  That’s when we realized the first time was a fluke caused by the snow storm that had been going on that evening.  Every time we try to go anywhere in Tremont after 7PM we walk away with the same sentiment, “dammit!  why did we decide to come out here again?”

I didn’t expect that to carry over to the retail, too.  This weekend’s Tremont fail?  The Cleveland Brew Shop.  A shop supposedly opened and run by a guy who LOVES home brewing, who scoured the greater Cleveland area for the perfect space and fell in love with Tremont.  We had been watching the shop get ready to open on our way to work from time to time.  We were anxious to see what they had to offer (if for no other reason then to understand what brew shops in the area were doing).  Consider it research for future endeavors. At 5:38PM on Saturday we rolled up on a buzz from what had been a great day so far. We were working our way to the Bottlehouse Brewing Company in Cleveland Heights.  What a perfect stop along the way!

Walked up to the door – turns out they closed at 5PM.  The four hipsters who stood/sat inside bullshitting did nothing but try to avoid eye contact with us.  We got the lay of the shop in those 30 seconds. Typical fixtures and decor for the area.  They had, what looked like, a standard full supply line.  Prominently displayed on the wall behind the register creating the main focal point of the entire back of the store were the Cleveland Brew Shop t-shirts.  It didn’t feel like someone who loved brewing beer created that store.  It felt like someone who had money and created a business plan to capitalize on the hipster crowd and craft beer trend in the area – complete with the memorable logo and catchy tagline.  Great marketing?  Absolutely.  Hiring the hipsters to run the place?  Certainly not creating a welcome vibe.

We stepped away disappointed.  This was not going to be the brew shop for us.  We jumped in the car, heading for the Eastside and a completely different experience that awaited us.

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About Mama's a Mess

Who am I and what am I doing here? Well, at the end of the day I'm a mother and a wife, a lover of classic monster movies and comic books, of music, TV and movies. I'm a sucker for pop culture. I'm a fangirl. I'm an artist. As my husband always puts it, "Baby, you're a mess!" I have a penchant for creating and collecting. I feed my brain with a mix of anything from hot rods and pin-ups to handmade and natural. I like to dig in the dirt and grow things but sometimes picture myself doing it like Donna Reed. I will always, always choose to wear a dress first. I am head over heels in love with my husband and have a fantastically crazy life with him. Follow all our adventures and musings on our blog at https://blakow.wordpress.com. Twitter: @mamasamess Pinterest & Polyvore: mamasamess
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5 Responses to Not Our Brew Shop

  1. Paul Benner says:

    Hello,
    I was just able to check out your blog and read about the experience you had with our Shop. I take it very personal that you did not have an enjoyable one and would like to extend an invitation to me with me, Paul the owner, and talk about why I decided to open the Brew Shop and why I chose the area I did. I do love homebrewing and those who consider it a lifestyle.

    Again, I apologize if I or staff did not drop everything to assist you when you arrived. Blowing away or customers with an exceptional customer experience is what I consider the hallmark of my business.

    Thank you for the direct feedback.

    Paul Benner

    • 1oddpapa says:

      Hello Paul, I’m glad that you took the time to read the article. I do appreciate the olive branch and I also give you the benefit of the doubt being that it was after business hours when we got there. I think I have to take a pass on your offer, though. As a business person, I’m sure that you understand how first impressions can last with a customer and this case is no different. If I was running a new business and trying to build a community atmosphere, I think if any employee is still inside the shop & regardless of what hours are printed on the door, I would be eager to let potential customers in. If my employees aren’t helping to create a warm open door policy, then I might have a training session with them. Maybe I am wrong about your place. Maybe I’m being too judgmental being that I have never actually been inside, but there was an opportunity to welcome us in and the people inside sat and tried not to make direct eye contact instead. If you weren’t actually present, then I will also give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe you haven’t really been able to fully express your vision to your employees, but even with that said, The main focal point when looking through the front door are your t-shirts. Not any specials, deals, new items or even upcoming events, but your t-shirts. That doesn’t imply a welcoming community store to me, that implies a brand. I won’t knock you for that. You have the right to build a brand – shit, if I could build my own brand of something to help me become a successful business person, I would be ecstatic …but I can’t equate a brand with a passion. They just don’t go together. Maybe this kind of thing doesn’t matter to some people, but it does to me and I’m sure it does for others as well. I’ll still look in your windows when I drive by in hopes that something strikes me as more warm and welcoming and maybe one day I’ll see a more inviting atmosphere, but for now, I have to say that my 10 second experience with your shop is enough to keep me looking for another that’s more suitable to my palate. Thanks again for reading and I wish you success and the best of luck. Who knows, maybe out of convenience one day I’ll stop in for some bottle caps or yeast or something. If I do, I’ll make sure to introduce myself and maybe I’ll walk out of there feeling differently.

      • Paul Benner says:

        I accept your assessment and understand that you have power as a consumer to decide where you patron. Your article was an actual account of your experience and I personally apologize that you did not have a good feeling of our brand, service and/or shop lay out. We are a small, family-owned start-up that is trying each and everyday to improve all aspects of our business and, even though I hate to read about a negative experience because the business means so much to me, I will treat this as an opportunity to better our shop.

        Again, I thank you for writing this article and have subscribed to your blog to read future installments.

        Paul Benner
        The Cleveland Brew Shop

      • 1oddpapa says:

        You’re a man of class, sir. I have to tell you that you’re making me question my convictions. I’m sure we’ll meet in person soon.

      • Paul Benner says:

        thank you. I hope we are able to share a beer at some point. On me.

        Paul Benner

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