Opening a Growler Store 101

After shopping at a few growler stores, Hayes and I started talking about opening one. After all, this concept is super simple. You lease a space, you install a cooler and some taps, you buy some beer, and BOOM! You open the doors. How hard can it be?

I’ve got news for you. Really. Freaking. Hard.

I sympathetically laugh at that naïve version of myself from just a few months ago, because if I really thought about it, I might cry. I guess that’s what we get for being first time business owners. Don’t get me wrong. The concept really is as simple as we thought it would be. It’s just all the little stuff that you don’t think of that becomes the issue.

Let’s start with the lease. Three years; that was the magic number. WHAT!? You want me to start a business by committing to three years? Doubtful. So our simple “well find a space and sign a lease within a week or two” mentality was quickly brought back to reality, which was about a month of looking, two weeks of negotiating, and a month of waiting to get the executed lease back.

Next, it was a business license. Simple, right? Wrong again. To get a business license, we need a certificate of occupancy, which means an inspection by the fire marshal followed by a city inspection. Great, so I’ll just call the fire marshal and have him come out. Nope! You can’t do anything with a phone call; you have to go to the office to get a permit number and then call to schedule.

You can imagine how this continues to go. We need an alcohol license from the city and the state; we need an electrical inspection; we need an agricultural inspection; we need three sinks, two water fountains, and a functioning bathroom for the customers that are not even allowed to use it.

So yeah, opening a business is hard. You live and you learn, and hopefully it’s all worth it in the end. The good news is that every time we check something off the list, its one step closer to becoming filthy rich (think big, right?).

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