Retail Shop Update for 12 July 2021
Well, folks, it’s been quite the last year and a half. The support from you has been so fully heartwarming and has allowed us to arrive here, now, after such a departure and a journey away from the normative life. With the re-opening of our Bottle Shop space this Wednesday, I welcome the opportunity to share a bit of insight into the process of how we intend to move forward with our Retail operations based on the collective feedback from our Team and you, our incredible group of supporters.
When we closed down in March of 2020, the idea of re-opening our space seemed far away. We launched Curbside in April 2020 and did so facing several challenges. Our point-of-sale system, Toast, was designed for restaurant take-out service and did not readily provide the ability to pre-order beer ahead of time for pick-up the following week (or even the following day). This created myriad issues with tracking inventory, discovering variances, and issuing refunds for no-shows. A significant amount of bandwidth was spent canceling and rescheduling orders. It also proved to be a challenge physically, requiring tens of thousands of daily steps to greet cars and fulfill each order by hand carrying cases of beer outside.
Curbside was never intended to be a long-term, sustainable endeavor; however, our Team recognized that, and we put in the energy to make it work out for as long as was needed. Yet, with restrictions loosening and tourism returning to Vermont, nearly half of our daily customers are arriving without advance ordering and are placing their orders here, onsite, as has been tradition. Our decision to re-open the Bottle Shop, expending less energy in the behind-the-scenes administration of Curbside fulfillment, will allow us to refocus the energy and capacity of our limited team into a hopeful expansion of our reservation-based Onsite experience.
Beginning this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we will open up day-of advanced ordering via our Toast website (toasttab.com/hillfarmstead) at 5:00 a.m. each day until 4:30 p.m. for pick-ups inside the Bottle Shop from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
What does this mean for you?
This will provide certainty to our customers (many of whom drive long distances!) that the beer they seek will be here upon arrival, in a manner that also will be successful and sustainable for our small, hard-working Retail team.
If unforeseen circumstances arise and you cannot arrive for your pickup in the Bottle Shop, we will void and refund the order. Rescheduling will no longer be possible. As before, credit card and matching ID are required for limited release offerings. If you don’t want to place an order ahead of time, or cannot for any reason, easily enough—come inside the Bottle Shop to purchase beer. This allows our POS system to behave as it was designed (day of and take-out purchases), thus improving our workflow and hopefully aiding in ensuring a sense of certainty for our traveling patrons.
One final note: as we re-open the Bottle Shop this week and trial this new system, we ask that folks please consider wearing a mask in our bottle shop space regardless of vaccination status. Due to rapid weather fluctuations, the shop can quickly become crowded during a rainstorm or cold weather. We welcome customers from all over the world to our brewery daily, and we want to create a safe space for the immunocompromised members of our community. As national and global tourism to Vermont increases (including from areas with a high occurrence of new Coronavirus variants), we would like to do our best to encourage a healthy and safe environment for everyone.
This has all been quite the journey, and the path is still unfolding. Again, I thank you all on behalf of our entire Team for your care and support of all we strive to do.
We look forward to seeing you soon,
Mike + Hill Farmstead Brewery