5Qs with Gino Graul about site selection
Husband and wife Jensen and Danneel Ackles opened Family Business Beer Company in Dripping Springs, Texas, this past January and have already experienced great success. Not even a year has passed and they have signed on to be the brewpub at St. Elmo Public Market, a 40,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use project that will open in Austin next fall. Chain Store Age asked general manager Gino Graul, Ackles’ brother and brewmaster, how Family Business went about selecting its first expansion site.
1. Tell us about Dripping Springs, Texas’s beer mecca.
“Mecca” is an appropriate term to use for the beer scene in Dripping Springs. In the last several years we’ve seen a number of quality breweries and brewpubs opening up in the Hill Country. This a win-win for not only the beer industry, but also the local economy which benefits from the increase in visitors. All of this is possible thanks to the hard work by members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and smart reform to Texas’ archaic beer laws.
2. In less than a year, Family Business Beer Company is a hit and is already expanding. Why South Austin and why the St. Elmo project?
It hasn’t been a year yet! It seems way longer! We chose South Austin because, much like Dripping Springs, there is a great energy there. Texans deserve quality and variety which are two standards our company pursues every day we come in to work. After many meetings with the developers of the St. Elmo Public Market, it was apparent we are very like-minded. We both want to create a unique experience for our patrons that continues to evolve and grow with the local community.
3. What features are you looking for in a potential site?
I think we found what we were looking for in the St. Elmo Public Market. For us, it’s a great location with an enthusiastic developer who wants to see the tenants thrive. It allows us to be closer to the Austin beer scene and provides Austinites daily access to our beer which we are very proud of.
4. Within 10 years, according to JLL, the share of F&B space at malls will jump 12 percentage points to 26%. What are your thoughts on this outlook?
I believe as Texans are becoming more conscientious of what we are consuming there is a demand for higher quality options. What I love about the St. Elmo Public Market is that it is the opposite of a mall. It’s a concentration of local artisans who take pride in the quality of their craft. Each tenant was hand-selected because their products are some of the best commercially available and we look forward to collaborating with as many other tenants as possible.
5. Any plans for expanding in the future? If so, where next?
Beyond this new location, we do not have any plans to expand further. Our goal is to remain a local business focusing on quality beer and the reformation of Texas beer laws.
Amazon reportedly to split HQ2 between two sites
There may be a new plot twist when it comes to where Amazon will open its newest North American headquarters.
Rather than settle on one city, the e-commerce giant is reportedly planning on crowning two winners to host the business office, which it is calling HQ2, according Business Insider, which cited the Wall Street Journal.
The e-commerce giant “plans to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city for HQ2,” a person familiar with the matter told The Journal. Each location would host roughly 25,000 Amazon employees.
Operating two locations would increase Amazon’s ability to recruit enough tech talent, and ease issues related to housing, transit, among other factors.
Lowe’s to close 51 stores
Lowe’s Companies is closing 51 underperforming U.S. and Canadian stores as part of a “strategic assessment.”
The home improvement giant is closing 20 stores in the United States (the majority of which are located within 10 miles of another Lowe’s) and 31 in Canada in a move to improve the overall health of its store portfolio. The closures are expected to be completed by Feb. 1, 2019 (the end of the company’s 2018 fiscal year), with an anticipated impact on per-share earnings from 28 cents to 34 cents.
Lowe’s is in the midst of a restructuring under new CEO Marvin Ellison, who took the reins in July. In August, the company said it was pulling the plug on its Orchard Supply Hardware division — closing all 99 stores — in order to focus on its core home improvement warehouse model. Lowe’s is also working to rationalize store inventory and reduce lower-performing inventory while investing in increased depth of high velocity items,
“While decisions that impact our associates are never easy, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic reassessment as we focus on building a stronger business,” said Ellison.
The retailer is planning to conduct store closing sales for most of the locations with the exception of select stores in the U.S., which will close immediately. Lowe’s has partnered with Hilco Merchant Services to help manage the process in the United States. Ellison said that most employees in the U.S. stores scheduled to close will be given the opportunity to move to a similar role at a nearby Lowe’s.
To see a list of the store locations that will be closing in the U.S. and Canada, click here.