It’s always an honor to get such good press coverage as we did recently from Our State Magazine.
It was great sitting down with reporter Hope Yancey to talk about Carolina Beer Temple, craft beer and the exciting craft beer scene in North Carolina! Hope had clearly done her research before interviewing me and already knew a bit about what our store was all about which made her questions that more pointed and insightful!
During the interview their was one question that really stood out to me and it was the one question I continued to twirl on after the interview was over. Hope decided, for brevity I’m sure, not to include the question or my answer in her post, so here is what she asked:
“What has been the biggest surprise for you since opening your own business?”
Of all the questions she asked, this one really got me thinking. I thought back to building out a business plan to forecast the year ahead. I thought about all the coordinating I did with contractors and sub-contractors to get the store ready to open. I thought of the countless inspections we went through and failed for various reasons – some valid, some absurd. I thought about meeting all sorts of sales reps and working with distributors and local breweries to stock our shelves! But none of those things surprised me.
Today I can think of several things that surprised me such as the incredible support from friends, family, business neighbors and the overall Matthews community – but there is one thing that stands out above them all:
Our AMAZING customers!
I never could have predicted the support we received from customers months before we even opened. Social Media was buzzing for months in anticipation of our store! Meanwhile, absolutely every day as we were working behind shaded windows painting, cleaning, organizing and building out the shop, curious heads would pop in asking what we were going to be all about and when our doors would open. Once we opened we had established “regulars” from day #1, customers who continue to come back again and again. Since opening our dooors I’ve met many new friends and without question our best marketing comes from our customers!
One of my favorite moments (and I have many) since opening the store was the night a customer walked in the door looking a little confused. He asked if he needed a membership to come in. This is a reasonable question knowing that historically in North Carolina you could not sell any form of alcohol to customers unless you were either a full blown restaurant or a private club. We’re neither because North Carolina changed some of those laws a few years ago – if you sell beer you do not need to sell food or be a private club.
There were several customers at the bar who overheard our new customers question and told him he was a member now, to come on in and have a seat. One of them welcomed him saying, “You’re going to love this place!” He was invited to sit in an empty seat between two regulars. One of the two regulars immediately told me to forget her recent request for the check since she was going to stay and have at least one more beer with her new friend!
The two regulars flanked the new guy each explaining all of the great things about Carolina Beer Temple! Things like:
“They have 16 taps that they constantly rotate so you can try something new on every visit!”
“They always have beers from North Carolina and Belgium on tap.”
“They print a new beer menu every day!”
“They don’t have a kitchen, but you can bring food in. And if you order from the Creperie they’ll bring the food right to your seat!!!”
I didn’t have to say a word! I had two of my customers telling our new customer everything I would tell him in my elevator pitch about who we are and what we’re all about! And like so many of our customers, these two regulars made this new customer feel right at home! And while I’ve certainly made some new friends along the way, I am so pleased to know that so many customers have become friends since meeting at Carolina Beer Temple!
Carolina Beer Temple is more than craft beer and a great beer list, the heart and soul of Carolina Beer Temple are our wonderful customers! And I am so incredibly grateful for all of you – thank you!