Making New Friends

After we returned to the states last week we drove to visit a very dear friend of ours in Poughkeepsie for a night before making the last leg of our trip home.  Since Poughkeepsie is really not too far from Albany we decided to check out a bottle shop before hitting the highway.

We stopped in at Oliver’s Beverage Center and had a wonderful experience!! We talked all about our plans: location, size, distributors, POS systems, tricks of the trade! They were super helpful and told us we better start diving into our POS system now! It takes forever to set up and learn.  They even said that if we hadn’t already purchased one, we could have gotten the one they used and they could have sold us their inventory list.  That way we wouldn’t have to set up THOUSANDS of SKUs… I never would have thought of that and now I really wish I had.

Another lesson learned.

I did get some business cards though and they offered to help in anyway they could.  They said I could even just call with POS questions and if we want to place orders through them for items they get from NYC distributors we can set something up.  This is super exciting since Joel and I have talked about trying to do something like that for a while for the beers that are locally distributed but in high demand.

Anyway, if you are ever in the Albany area they have an AMAZING selection! Check them out.



Going Hippie On Ya Here

We got some troubling news about the shop just before we left for our trip (that we will share with you as soon as we can) and I was having a really hard time with it.  As I was driving home from work, I was trying hard not to cry and each time I got close to tears, I saw a hawk on the side of the road.

Side note: If you don’t know Joel and I are bird nerds yet, now you do.  His totem animal is an Osprey and mine is a Great Blue Heron. We love all animals, but birds are cool as shit! 😛 Whenever we travel the thruway (New York Interstate 90) we “hunt for hawks.” For some reason they always hang out around this corridor looking for dinner and Joel and I love to find them perched in trees, on fences, or even on road signs.   We really love to catch them in action as they swoop down to get dinner.

Anyway.  As I was driving home in a pretty low spot I kept seeing the hawks.  Now I am only on the Thruway for a few miles so I usually see about 3 on a good day.  This one afternoon I saw 7.  I even saw 3 right near each other (which is not very common) when I was really getting worked up.  I knew that they were trying to tell me something so I took some deep breaths and just said thank you to them.  When I got home, I told my mother about my drive and she looked up the meaning.  One of the sites she found said:

“When Hawk swoops into your life be ready for a whole new level of awareness developing in your mind and spirit. He signals a time in your life when you need to focus on what’s ahead and prepare for a leadership role. Your global vision is a potent helpmate in this. Just as the Hawk, you are ready to fly higher than ever before.” (I trimmed this down a bit to make it more concise.)

And it all made sense. Each time I was about to wallow in sadness, a hawk swooped into view to tell me that this is not something to cry over. This is just another obstacle in this insane process that we can over come as long as we stay focused and prepare ourselves.

So I may still have done a bit of wallowing when I got home, but I am not discouraged any longer, just focused.


Meeting with the Bank

I met in person with Community Bank just before we left for vaction.   There have been hundreds (literally) e-mails over the past couple weeks about the documentation that the SBA (Small Business Association [a federal program]) has requested before they will provide us with, in layman terms, a co-sign. Holy hot dang!

It was actually nice to see that the Community Bank rep was as annoyed as I am with all these damn hoops! There is so much documentation that it makes me want to scream!! The rep even joked about how small of a loan this was to be spending all this time on.  Honestly the amount of money the SBA and Community Bank has spent on the salaries for the people involved is probably more than what the loan is for.

Also found out that we have to “inject” all of our funds before they will give us ANY!!! I showed the checks we deposited into our business account and apparently that is not enough. It literally has to be spent… but they have designated the buckets that they want us to allocate the money they give us so we can not spend it in those bucket or we will not get the money we need. OMG I AM GOING TO GO CRAZY!! These are their buckets

  • all of the to equipment expense we planned to spend
  • 1/3 of the build out expense
  • 1/2 of the inventory expense to originally stock the shelves
  • ALL of the C license expense (of which we have already pd a down payment)

So now I have a puzzle to solve.  How can I spend our investment and prove it but not spend it on the items they listed and still be productive. I need to keep things moving but this is just ridiculous!!

Ok. I like math…. I like puzzles… I can do this and I will…


Doing Some “Research” In Vietnam

As many of you know, we have been on vacation in Vietnam for the past two weeks. It was an absolutely amazing trip full of rich history, breathtaking landscapes, delectable meals and of course BEER!
We started our trip by drivng down to NYC to visit with family for a night before catching our flight out of JFK. While in NY you can’t pass up a chance to check out a brewery!! Even if you get there super late on a Thursday since we drove through an ice storm.

Totally worth it!

Then we started trying new beers on our Korean Air flights (which are included by the way) They were very light.

In our layover in Korea we tried these two since it was either these or Heineken:

In Hanoi there was a whole heck of a lot of Tiger (which us very light) and Hanoi and Saigon.

On our excursion to Halong bay we brought along one of every beer in the corner store that we had not had before (gotta get those check ins ;-P).  Then we find out that there is no fridge in our cabin on our 12 cabin cruising boat. So sink beers it is! (and it turns out we had already had the Hanoi one but oh well)


We enjoyed some of these on a nice man made beach on one of the islands in Halong bay

After heading back to the city of Hanoi we finally found Halida. It was like tiger but with a lot more flavor! Super exciting!

Then we started doing some hunting to find some more interesting beers on tap and found this place! It was the start of a whole new beer adventure in Vietnam

After Honoi we went to Ho Chi Mihn City and decided to look up some of the places we had heard about.  This is the Pasteur Street Brewing Company menus and they were pretty stinking good!

The Cyclo Imperial Chocolate Stout (not pictured) was killer!

While at Pasteur Street we say that Untapped (the app we used to check in and rate and keep track of all the beers we have tried) said other similar good craft beers were just around the corner! So we headed over to Heart of Darkness.  We thought their beers had a little more to them and that was exciting.  Tried one called Charlies Chocolate Chili Stout that tasted a lot like the Ballast Point Thai Wahoo Chili


On our way back from Heart of Darkness we stopped at another place that advertised craft beer and met the owner of another brewery called Winking Seal.  So naturally we had to check that out the next day 😛 It was good. All pretty light beers for what we are used to for “American Craft Beers” but it is always super hot and sticky in Ho Chi Mihn City so heavy beers probably do not do as well.

While we were on the Mekong Delta we went to a coconut candy “factory” where they also had other interesting items for sale.  I know it isn’t beer but this rice “wine” was so interesting and  so strong that it tastes more like whiskey! And yes, there is a snake in there holding a scorpion in it’s mouth by the tail.

On our layover on the way home we tried a couple other new ones in the Korean airport before going back the Tigers to say farewell.

So we had a lot of beer adventures on our trip and really enjoyed experiencing all of the foreign beer since we stick mostly to American craft while home.


Lunch Meeting with SBDC

I met with the Small Business Development Center yesterday for lunch at Bull & Bear.  It was a really nice lunch. Mike (from the SBDC) is writing an article about us and our start up process for their newsletter.  I’m excited to see how it turns out.  He asked about our history and what made us want to open a bottle shop.  I love talking to people about our drive and our passion for this new business.  I also gave him some options for pictures of Joel and I and he picked his favorite.

Here was the runner up of the pictures (in case you aren’t following us on Facebook or Instagram)


We snuck into our build out on Saturday and snapped a real cute picture! 



More Business Cards

We have cruised through all 100 business cards I ordered as a trial.  I really like them (even with the light gray streak on the back that was a misprint) so I made some minor font size changes and ordered 500 more :-O  Got them yesterday and I am ready to make it rain business cards again 😛

I even filed a complaint about the last ones and they gave me all my money back for the first 100.  Thanks Vistaprint!


An Affidavit to Prove I Can Do This

We recently found out that our SLA consultant told the SLA that we were going to have 4-10 employees.  This then triggered the state to ask us for proof of workers compensation and disability insurance.  When I got that request I was confused and thought that if it was owner operated than I shouldn’t need that. I expressed this concern to the SLA and that is when I found out that our consultant filled out our form inaccurately.  When I asked about this, I got the impression it was done on purpose because getting insurance was way easier than explaining how a woman is going to run a beer store by herself…. I may have screamed out loud a few time and vented very emotionally to my husband to relieve some frustration but we are back on track now. The SLA is now requiring an affidavit “detailing how they intend to operate a licensed wholesale beer store with one full time operator and one part time operator. Will Carissa be supervising the store, checking out and helping customers, stocking shelves, receiving orders etc…. by herself”

So I am now on a mission to find some sort of template to make an affidavit and have it notarized and sent back to the SLA to finish jumping through this very offensive hoop.

Anyone know where I can find one? 😛


Thursday Survey 2/2/17

It just occurred to me that I missed last Thursday.  :-O  I posted about our design ideas so I supposed that is a pretty interactive post anyway.

This week I want to know your opinion of the State Liquor Authority.

We are traveling to Vietnam February 12-23.  We are driving to and from JFK to save a BOATLOAD on airfare.  I have rented the tiniest car for the drive down but the way back is going to be a little different. We have toyed with the idea of renting a minivan (for the extra $70 bucks or whatever) and stopping in Albany on the way back to grab all sorts of beer that we may not be able to get in the Syracuse area. We were hoping to get some unique beers for the grand opening in March but what it comes down to is:

Do you think the State Of New York will have provided us with our license number by February 23rd? 

We may need it to purchase bulk beer from a shop to sell again at our shop.