For the new establishment, which was originally slated for Alpharetta but will now be located at 408 S. Atlanta St. in Roswell, Holley says he's shooting for a July 1 open date, but that more realistically, the store - which he hopes will be the second of three total, eventually - will open in mid-July. CL caught up with Holley to get the scoop on Ale Yeah!'s forthcoming middle child, his potential suburban customers, and what will happen if Atlanta's craft-brew bubble bursts.
Roswell has several very attractive features: excellent potential customer base, great traffic counts, a centric launching point for the outside-the-perimeter-market that is currently not being tapped (pun totally intended), as well as its proximity to major highways such as 400 and 285.
Any concern of expanding too quickly?
Every owner will tell you that business can always be better, but we have an ideal situation in Decatur: a craft beer bottle shop that is truly serving it's neighborhood, a neighborhood that fiercely supports local businesses - and, to put a cherry on top, loves craft beer. We don't think this expansion is quick. We have always discussed the potential of three stores, with store number two coming in year number two, and the opportunity truly exists now with the availability of growlers. Coupled with an underserved market, the timing is now, and we are ready to move.
Do you worry about finding enough suburban support for craft beer?
There is always that chance, but if we were that afraid of risk we never would have opened the Decatur store. You have to have confidence in your model - your ability to serve a need, and to satisfy your customers. We believe that Roswell and the surrounding communities are thirsty for a great beer store, with friendly people who know the craft. While it's probably fair to say that the customer bases won't be the exact same, people love good beer and we think Roswell will be an outstanding destination for Ale Yeah! North. The biggest advantage would be that there really isn't anybody serving the market currently. If a store has craft beer on the shelves, they don't know what it is and it collects dust.
As Atlanta's craft-beer scene continues expanding rapidly with breweries, bars, and stores, is there any fear of the bubble bursting? One has to wonder if a tipping point is coming that'll make the environment inhospitable to additional businesses.
That is a concern I can second. We have a candy shop in downtown Decatur that is trying to capitalize on the trend of craft beer and is going to sell bottles as well as growlers, with two growler stores not a mile away on either side. There are a glut of growler-only stores opening up all around the city and the surrounding neighborhoods to get a piece of the pie. That's America, though. We've seen trends with the frozen-yogurt boom and bust, and now we're back in another boom. Beer is not a fad; people will always seek out great beer. But if you run your business the right way, treat your customers with respect, and have a true passion for what you do, you will succeed. It may be a little crowded out there in the next couple of years, but we believe Ale Yeah! can weather the storm. And hey, any focus on what we love is a good thing.
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