Location, Location, Schmocation

We've talked a bit about location in the past - but not quite with the level of intensity it's starting to require as of recent. If you get our Über-awesome Fermentation Friday email newsletters, you'll note that aside from when we'll be opening, the question: Where will you be located? is the most common inquiry we get. Most likely for good reason - and it's encouraging to be asked that question. It's evidence that locals, are beginning to pay more and more attention to what we're doing and what we're about. Grassroots, folks! That's where it's at!

As an uncompromising perfectionists (our self-assigned replacement label in lieu of the term entrepreneurs), Saralyn and I want to make sure we've left no stone unturned in our push to become prepared for operating this shindig to the best of our abilities. Within this effort is an underlying desire to not place the cart before the horse, so to speak. That means not falling in love with a location before we're ready to pull the trigger. We've said over and over again how much we enjoy Tallahassee and the investment the city is putting into becoming a balanced and commercially healthy environment for innovative small businesses to thrive. The common adage in the brewing industry is this:

If you brew it, they will come.

With that said, we don't want GrassLands to be out by the airport. (Tallahasseeans know what I'm talking about). My late grandpa (Grampy Hood), a Mainer through and through, would call that a piss-poor buy.

So even with this push to plan this business and its subsequent launch in an appropriate timeline, it's damn near impossible not to pay attention to a building for lease or a lot for sale or this or that in our travel around town. Looking at these locations and chatting with the building landlords or respective real estate representatives gets the ball rolling in the motivation department, but it can also skew your perception if you're a ways away from securing the proper financing to get your business off the ground.

Add in the fact that any location we ultimately decide upon will

  1. Need to meet the appropriate local zoning (i.e. flex, wet zoning),
  2. Need to be at least moderately accessible by foot- and auto-traffic,
  3. Need to be trailer-truck accessible,
  4. Have a (mostly) open floor plan,
  5. Have enough height to allow for functionality,
  6. Have delivery space (i.e. at least 9' roll-up doors),
  7. Have enough space for functionality (both in the brewery and in the taproom) and for growth,
  8. Have enough parking,
  9. Not be a million dollars per square foot, and oh yeah...
  10. Not be falling apart.

See how this can start to pile up with a quickness if you're not ready to pull the trigger when you find a place that somewhat fits within all the above parameters? Talk about letting yourself get overwhelmed really easily! But rest assured, there are plenty of areas in and around town that GrassLands can absolutely feel comfortable making a home for itself. With expected growth, we'll have to move in 5-10 years anyways and pull the trigger on a different location, but for now, this is definitely something we've given a lot of thought, just not to the extent of falling in love with a spot before being ready to sign on the dotted line. Our first experience in residential real estate taught us some valuable lessons (Thanks Debbie!).

Further extrapolating the point made earlier that just about anywhere in town could work, we did a little fun activity last night on Facebook - using our "Quick Question Dept" vehicle to get feedback from folks as to where they'd prefer to see GrassLands ultimately reside. The results? Just about everywhere in town with a couple suggestions for areas in the outskirts - the majority being a little bit skewed toward the east-side for the folks that are tired of always having to head into midtown to get a decent beer...can we say needs assessment? :D Seriously though - awesome and interactive responses, as per usual, from our ever-growing family of supporters!

Rest assured, when it's time to get really active in the commercial real estate arena, we'll be taking a TON of stuff into consideration. We're nearly there as it is, so get ready! The tedious part of planning is just about done, the fun (and freakin' intense) part is about to begin!

Now that we've, in a long-winded way, said that we're not yet set on a location but keeping an open mind, why don't we close on some news of recent? Have we talked about the growing popularity of the upcoming Green Lion Festival (August 3rd, San Marco, Jacksonville) enough yet? Not quite! That'll be the primary focus next week - so expect us to be blastin' information out left & right!

This weekend we're celebrating simply being homebrewers and craft enthusiasts with the NFBL annual summer pool party tomorrow, which is always a gas and Fred T. is perhaps the best host in Tallahassee. Seriously, if you live here (or have visited and/or will plan on visiting again) and you haven't ate at Uptown Cafe, you don't know what you're missing. Then this Sunday will be our first participation in the Mark of the Yeast annual event held at our brewing buddy Tyler T's Broken Cog. Between Saturday and Sunday, I hope I make it back to reality come Monday morning!

So, with that all said, have an awesome weekend yourselves, my dear readers, because you most definitely deserve it...as usual!

Prost!