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Jolly Brewer

The demise of the specialist shop

The demise of the specialist shop


When The Jolly Brewer in Kidsgrove first opened its doors in June of 1996 by Graham Reynolds the World Wide Web was in its infancy.

In fact there were 100,000 websites in existence in 1996, a considerable amount I hear you say but today we have over 162 MILLION!

I will start by saying that I do not have the secret to a successful business as a man well into his 50,s having worked in business for over 35 years I still find it baffling!

Having a website today in a business is as important as running water and a telephone, it is not a luxury, rather a minimum requirement for your business. To have any chance of success at all you must have a website. – At least that’s what “they” tell us!

When I came into this business less than a year ago there were around 100 Home brew shops up and down the UK. In my short tenure of The Jolly Brewer in Kidsgrove I have known many to reduce their hours, resort to “on-line only” or close altogether. This situation is not reserved for the home brew sector alone, indeed many different business types have gone the same way, however over the last few months we have seen a more disturbing trend where major retailers like, Maplins, Toys r Us, New Look, and even Marks and Spencer struggle to make it on the High Street because they were not well positioned on the web.

So what hope for the small independent shop?

What can we offer that the web doesn’t? We can match internet prices, we can offer free classes, we can offer that personal touch that the on line retailers can’t but is this enough?

Without a website we could never sell a wine kit to someone in say Cornwall, but a home brew shop with a website in Cornwall can and does sell wine kits to people in Stoke on Trent. And so the enevitable demise of the High Street will continue unless someone can unplug the World Wide Web.

So I have had to give in to the enevitable, indeed this so called “blog” is written on the internet to enable you guys to read it on the internet, where you can “like” or “unlike” me.

Our Facebook Page is getting more members and our new website is getting visitors but none of that compares to the good old human interaction in the shop discussing home brew, Donald Trump, pension contributions and arthritis, to name but a few.

The web is here to stay, but so, hopefully is the corner shop!

Please use them if you can?