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Franklin Street Brewing Company

Submitted by: Chad Sands
State: Iowa
City: Manchester

Business Description

We are a small, neighborhood brewery specializing in handcrafted ales and lagers. Our taproom has a comfortable environment to enjoy our product - the community's living room, as we like to call it.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

Our brewery is located in Manchester, Iowa - a small, but vibrant community. Our location is special as we are right downtown in the active central business district. What makes our location unique is that we're situated directly across the street from the city's new Whitewater Park along the Maquoketa River. This Whitewater Park is the largest of its kind in Iowa and attracts kayakers and water sports enthusiasts from across the state and even the country! The people attracted to water sports of this nature fall right into our targeted demographic – generally younger, with disposable income and a love of craft beer. Obviously, our focus is creating the best possible beer we can - feedback on this front has been incredible! However, by taking advantage of our exceptional location near a premier destination attraction, we hope to successfully grow our business throughout the year.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

We value our relationship with the community. The brewery strives to give back by donating to several important local causes throughout the year and also helps sponsor local events such as the city’s annual triathlon. Our pride and joy, however, is our annual River Runner Regatta and Cardboard Boat Race that we put on at the Whitewater Park across the street. This is an incredibly popular event, attended by 1,000s of people every year. We work closely with the city to smoothly run the event and with many local businesses to provide excellent prizes for the entrants. And recently, we won the 2016 Business of the Year award from the local Chamber for our positive impact on the community.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

We currently buy our bulk pretzels and pub mix from Sam's Club for use at our tap room. $1,000 would allow us to continue purchasing pretzels and pub mix while we utilize the additional funds to put towards more kegs to help grow the business. As far as training and the mentorship, my brother and I know how to brew quality beer. We take pride in the craftsmanship of our product. Running a business, however, is new to us. After only three years of being open, we are in the process of expanding production and growing our business and any assistance we receive to assure we're maximizing our potential would be most helpful.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

The Start/Grow Your Own Business classes we took as part of the Manchester Area SCORE group prior to opening our brewery was instrumental in giving us the knowledge to run our own business. Prior to the classes and working with the mentors, we had no idea how to run a business – we were very proud of our product and wanted to share that with the world. However, without the information gained through working with the mentors, we would not have had any idea on how to open our doors. Jack Klaus and Donna Boss were easy to work with and pushed us to learn the importance of a business plan and discussed all aspects of running a business throughout the course of the workshop. The depth of their information was critical to any success we’ve had.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

When we first opened our brewery, many people said that it would never work here as it was a "light domestic beer" town. We were convinced that was due to there being no other real choice for local consumers. Given the choice, we felt people would choose flavorful beer. The nearest metro area (and nearest brewery) was over 50 miles away. We felt that education would be critical in order to overcome the perception that locals only liked light beer. We set out to educate the community that the complex flavors, aromas, and colors of beer can surpass those of fine wine. Eventually, locals realized that beer with full flavor was worth the added expense and we have grown into a destination spot for people looking for quality handcrafted beer.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

We are currently expanding our production capacity to reach more people with our product (distribution around the state). As mentioned, we could not have reached this point without the help of our local SCORE group. We want to be able to help other people that might wish to start their own business. We currently assist our local SCORE group by guest teaching one of the Start/Grow Your Own Business classes on business plans. We've done that every year since we've opened the brewery. With the marketing video and the national recognition, we would like to continue to help others that need the assistance. We will use the national recognition to drive our ability to assist others with the creation of their business.
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