Weekly Business Profile
Southwest Grape and Grain
Type of business:
Homebrewing, Winemaking and Cheese Making Supplies
2801-N Eubank Blvd. NE
Albuquerque NM 87112
Number of Employees:
What was your first job?
How did you get started in this business?
I am normally hard to shop for, and my wife wanted to get something she knew I'd enjoy. I love beer. She prefers to keep her business in the community rather than support out-of-state, online businesses. She had a hard time finding what she was looking for, so she came up with the idea of a brew shop. She felt we could assist people shopping for the beer or wine lover in their lives.
Why did you choose this business?
I wanted to impart my enthusiasm for the craft into a business venture.
What is your business philosophy?
Customer service comes first. We need to meet our customers' needs, no matter their level of experience.
What is your educational background?
High school diploma only. I drove a semi truck for almost 20 years, eventually teaching and instructing tractor-trailer students to get their commercial driver's licenses. One day I decided to get off the road and into retail, and ended up right here in the brew shop.
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
Without a doubt, our greatest asset is our staff. It's important that they impart their passion and enthusiasm for the craft to our many customers. Most of our customers walk into the shop without any understanding of how to make wine, brew beer or make cheese. They want to give it a try but have no idea how. We are able to show anyone that they are capable of becoming award-winning brewers, winemakers and cheese makers, with very little investment. Our job is just as much about education as it is about retail.
What are your strongest business traits?
I love people. I love the craft. I believe people sense my love of brewing, and they quickly learn that they, too, can become outstanding brewers and winemakers.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
There's no place like Burque. Or New Mexico, for that matter. We have the best craft beer in the Southwest and some outstanding wineries. The culture is wonderful ... absolutely magic. Most of all, I like an ample supply of green chile.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
When I see people who had never made a beer or wine in their lives taking pride in their craft and winning medals in competitions, it gives me a very nice sense of satisfaction.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
There are a lot more concerns than you could ever imagine. Cost control is a huge part of doing business. Every decision you make has the potential of making or breaking your business.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We recently expanded our business into a larger shop. We also added cheese making supplies.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
We have three gold medal brewers who never brewed a batch before stepping into our shop.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
Dependable hours of operation and great customer service.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
We stay attentive to our customers' needs.
How would you define your position within the marketplace or within your market segment?
There's always room for improvement.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
What was your best business decision?
To allow my wife to make the important decisions.
What was your biggest missed opportunity?
Not finding my wife sooner.
What are your growth goals?
Multiple locations throughout New Mexico.
What is your company's greatest challenge?
Competing with out-of-state big-box retailers.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
We support Wounded Warriors and the UNM Children's Hospital.
How has the Internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
The Internet is both an obstacle and an opportunity.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
If you had to choose another career or start another business, what would it be?
I've always wanted to open a brewery.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Do your homework.
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
If you had a chance to live anyone else's life, whose life would it be?
Alan B. Shepard
What book are you currently reading, or what's your favorite book?
I’m currently reading Wild Brews .
Do you have a hero or mentor—business or otherwise?
My father Chuck Davis was my hero and mentor. George Washington is my favorite person from history.
If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?
More efficient, business-friendly government that lives on a budget like the rest of us.
What do you look for in prospective employees?
Dependability and passion.
What inspires you?
Three passions outside of work?
All sports, especially baseball and archery.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your life?
My family, my wife and my sons. Watching my sons grow into men, surpassing my achievements along the way.
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