I was laid off from my job as a research assistant at West Texas A&M last year. I had been looking for work without much success, but what I really wanted to do was open a business. I just needed a good idea.
I think this year was the perfect timing for opening the store. It was a kind of a sweet spot. The rents were still low, but the economy is getting better, and people are more willing to spend their money.
I had been kicking around the idea of opening a local brewing supply company. My fiancé got me into brewing and we'd been buying all of our supplies online. In February, I still hadn't found a job and just decided to go for it.
My fiancé and I found a building in a nice location and made what we thought was a low offer for the lease, and the landlord accepted. We set up Amarillo Brewing Supply one day in March, and then I opened the next. In all it took about $10,000 for the initial rent and inventory, which includes hops, grains, malt extracts and home brew kits. We serve mainly home brewers, but we also have a couple customers who own or work at breweries.
That first day was nerve wracking. It was a couple hours before customers started coming and I was so worried that we'd made a big mistake. But since then we've been blowing through our inventory. I thought our first order would last for months, but now I'm having to order that same amount of inventory at least two times per month.
It's not uncommon to receive a few negative reviews, but what's the best way to handle it? Don't call commenters punks, for starters.