steve siciliano

For Steve Siciliano, proprietor of Siciliano’s Market (perhaps West Michigan’s most well-respected bottle shop and homebrewing supply store), admitting failure acknowledges how seriously close he was to giving up—and how thankful he is that he didn’t. Siciliano, who many would consider partly responsible for laying the foundation of what would become known as Beer City USA, endured five years of dark days before craft beer saved his store, and maybe his life.

 

MittenBrew: Your blog tells a brief story about your store’s history, but why pivot into the realm of convenience stores in the first place?

Steve Siciliano: I was the regional manager for a marketing company in the late ‘70s. I hated the work, the travel, and had young sons at home, so I took on franchise ownership of a 7-Eleven. It ended up not being an easy business to run, but it taught me about the business of retail and, more significantly, the importance of being a part of a community.

 

MB: How so?

SS: Back then, 7-Eleven was different than the way we think about them today. They operated more like a mom and pop store. They really stressed the value of community, and backed it up with charitable giving. Everything started by making customer service the priority. I found that I really liked the interaction with the customers, but I was kind of a quiet fella, believe it or not. I’m really quite reticent for the most part.

 

MB: That doesn’t sound like someone who’d end up having an affinity for providing exemplary customer service.

SS: It sounds weird, but I developed somewhat of a stage persona, so to speak.

 

MB: Something you turned on and off?

SS: I’m not a loquacious type of guy, so it was a way for me to connect with the customers and have some fun with them at the same time. [With a quick, soft chuckle under his breath seemingly surprised by the popularity of his accidental alter ego…] And, they liked it! If they came in and I didn’t throw an innocent, verbal jab at them or literally throw a donut at them playfully on their way out of the store, they thought something was wrong with me.

 

MB: After you got good at throwing donuts, you left 7-Eleven to buy a different store in Creston Heights. What were you hoping to achieve differently?

SS: In the eight years I owned the second store, I felt like I was able to really engage with and impact the community in a positive way, especially with the Scholar Dollars program. Unfortunately, the neighborhood’s socioeconomic status at that time didn’t lend itself well to the direction I was interested in going. We did okay with the working crowd in the morning and around lunchtime, but business would go quiet after dark. I was getting into wine around then, and knew that I’d have to consider a different location if I was going to be able to give that a shot on the shelves. Then I bought this store.

 

MB: What was this place like when you bought it?

SS: As soon as you walked in, you were hit with porn magazines. I mean, the guy had a shit ton of pornography. And that’s pretty much all he was selling—porn and cheap booze…and maybe a bag of stale chips. It was bad. But when I walked in, I’m thinking, “I know how to run a store, I know what I’m doing. I’ll come in here, remodel it, stock it up, and have plenty of space for wine, too.” I envisioned a really nice convenience store—and guest experience. So, I put in soda fountains, coffee, everything I thought I needed. But nothing—I was up against the reputation of the previous management. It was crickets for five years. It was tough, really tough. People just did not come in here. Nothing worked.

 

MB: I read in another interview that you said you “pretty much died here” during that time. Is that true? Did you ever want to throw in the towel?

SS: It was probably the worst time of my life, really. Just five years of me sitting around an empty store. It was tough. I mean, I slipped into a depression. I never failed at anything in my life, and I was failing. To be honest with you, there were times when I’d go in the back room and cry. I was exhausted—mentally, physically.

 

MB: Did it stress family life at home?

SS: Yes, yeah… There’d be nights where I’d just go home, sit in the dark, and stare at the wall.

 

MB: What turned it around?

SS: Around the time I bought this building in ‘93, craft beer was just starting to gain interest. I started hearing whispers about it from random customers in the late ‘90s, and I listened to them. I remember this very distinctly: I brought in a case of Bell’s, was working out the price for a six-pack, and thinking to myself, “There is no way this is ever going to sell.” I mean, I couldn’t see people buying it—paying that much for a six-pack?! So, I thought, “What if I just price them out and sold the bottles as singles?”

 

MB: So, wait. You’ve been pricing beer as singles since the late ‘90s?

SS: Yep. Everything that came in, I priced out as singles. And it worked.

steve siciliano

 

MB: Simple, but genius.

SS: It just snowballed from there. As customers would recommend that I try to get this beer, that beer, those imports, I did. If anyone ever asked if I could get my hands on a certain beer for them, I would. At that time, I would do anything to earn a customer.

 

MB: Is that what led you to expand into to homebrewing supplies?

SS: Tom Buchanan, head brewer at Ludington Bay Brewery, used to live in the neighborhood. He was a customer, and really good homebrewer. He said I should consider selling homebrewing supplies, but I knew nothing about it. I did a little research, found a local distributor, GW Kent, asked for a catalog, and ordered a bunch of stuff I didn’t know anything about. I was scared shitless because I didn’t have the money to spend on it, but it drew people in. It probably took another three to four years before we started making money, but I was getting new and returning faces through the door, and it was fun again.

 

MB: How much lighter was the weight on your shoulders?

SS: Making money is a great antidepressant. For so long, the store was this big, heavy airplane slowly… taking… off… It took a long time to gain altitude, but we finally did.

 

MB: How close were you to running out of runway? Why didn’t you quit?

SS: [Lights his pipe, takes an intentional, steady drag, exhales calmly, and introduces us to his wife, Barb, who has just joined us to listen in…] It’s interesting that you ask that. Barb and I met in ‘98, at the tail end of those dark first five years here at the store. From the very beginning of our relationship, she’s been very supportive, very involved, and with me every step of the way. But before we met, I actually tried to sell the store.

I called a good friend of mine—the same commercial real estate guy who helped me get the Creston store, who helped me buy this store, and I said to him, “Listen, I can’t do this anymore. It’s killing me. You gotta help me sell this place.” So we listed it. We had some lookers, but it didn’t sell. He couldn’t figure out why. And you know what? It was the fucking universe telling me, “You stick this out.” I really think it was something metaphysical, something bigger than me telling  me, “No. You stick this out.” Now, I say to myself, “Thank God I didn’t sell.”

 

MB: You couldn’t ditch the store. The only thing you had left was the hope that customers would eventually walk through the door. Once they did and continued to return, how did you apply your philosophy of what you learned about community and customer service to keep the store above water?

SS: I had the idea to throw a party for homebrewers. We held it at St. Ladislaus Aid Society, an old Polish hall. They could bring their beer, we’d feed ‘em (Barb and her friend Connie made ribs in Connie’s kitchen) and we were going to play trivia. I found this old silver cup at an antique store, and we called it The Siciliano’s Cup, and we’d award it to the homebrewing team with the highest trivia score—not the best BJCP-judged beer, like it is now. Now, in its 15th year, it’s revered like the Stanley Cup. Since, we’ve parlayed that into throwing our own Big Brew Day at Trailpoint Brewing Company to celebrate National Homebrew Day, which happens annually on the first Saturday in May.

steve siciliano

 

MB: I get the sense that your customers are more important to you than just a cash transaction.

SS: I’ve met SO many wonderful people over the years, especially here. Like-minded people who love good things—good beer, spirits, wine, cigars. I’ve developed a lot of really close friendships. It’s one of the many cool things about running a store like this. We’ve always considered ourselves to be a mom and pop place, and I like that. My wife, Barb, is a face of Siciliano’s, too, and our employees are an extension of us—they’re so appreciated. We’ve just tried to create an atmosphere with a tangible personal touch.

 

MB: Do you consider Siciliano’s a contributing factor to Grand Rapids being known as Beer City USA?

SS: I know so many professional brewers now because they started out being homebrewers. I feel pretty proud of the fact that many of them got their start in our store. We’re like a farm team of local brewers. [He affectionately starts name-dropping…] Jacob Derylo, from Vivant, used to work here. Matt Blodgett from Founders. Gary Evans and Mark Lacopelli from Trail Point. The guys from Mitten Brewing. Seth Rivard from Rockford Brewing. The guys from Pigeon Hill and Unruly in Muskegon. The guys from Odd Side and Grand Armory in Grand Haven. Elk Brewing. Tom Payne, who just opened Two Guys [and was shopping for supplies during this interview]. I mean, I can keep going…

 

MB: The Siciliano’s jumbo jet has been in the air, turbulence-free, for a while. You’ve got a successful annual homebrewing competition, a complementary, impressively-attended National Homebrew Day party, a résumé of helping influence a who’s who in the local brewing scene, and you just recently announced your “semi-retirement”. Why now?

SS: My age. My wife. [Laughing…] I’ve been slowing down for a couple years now. Don’t get me wrong, if they need help behind the counter, I’ll jump behind there. I’ll help carry a customer’s order out to their car, but I’ve been concentrating more on the marketing end of the business. Writing’s always been in my blood—I’ve got a degree in journalism. I’ve self-published a novel. It’s my creative outlet, so I love writing our blog. But Barb’s like, “What are you gonna do, keep working for the rest of your life?! I want to go travel.” So, me being a smart man, I started listening to her.

steve siciliano

 

MB: Are you going out kicking and screaming?

SS: When you’ve spent half your life building something, it’s hard to walk away from it. You know, I got in this morning at nine o’clock, and said, “I like this.” We’ve been traveling a lot more lately. And, you know what, I’ve kinda liked that, too. I’ve been grooming the management team for about a year, and I trust them. So am I going kicking and screaming? Yeah, maybe I was at first, but they’ve got the program dialed in now. So much, in fact, that most of the time they don’t even put me on the schedule. [He shows the schedule as proof.] It’s a coup! [Laughing.]

 

MB: So when you finally clock out for the last time…

SS: [He cuts me off…] I don’t think I’ll clock out. [Barb adds, “I don’t think he will either.”] I’ll clock out when I’m dead.

 

MB: Fair enough. [We all pause in silence…]

 

MB: Do you have a vision for how you’d like to see the store once you are gone? Is there an heir to the throne?

SS: Not yet, but I hope it stays. Once I’m dead and gone, I hope that… I hope they find a way to keep this thing going, and under the same name. That’d mean a lot to me.

 

MB: If this store with your name on it is your legacy, what does your headstone stay?

SS: Let’s put it this way. At my funeral service, which won’t be open casket because I’ll be ashes, I want the book I wrote, the black belt I earned, my fly fishing rod, and a picture of Siciliano’s Market there. And I want Tom Petty’s “Room At The Top” playing on a loop.

 

MB: When you’re looking down from the top of the world, what drink will be in your hand?

SS: Maybe a Manhattan (with a good bourbon, good sweet vermouth, and a Luxardo cherry). Maybe a nice glass of wine, or an authentic Belgian beer. And a good cigar. Or my pipe.

steve siciliano

 

MB: Well, Steve. We hope you don’t see that day for a long time, but when you do we think that sounds like a good way to go out.

 

Photography: Steph Harding

craft draft 2 go
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are aware of the situation surrounding Craft Draft 2 Go and its co-owner Aaron VanArsdale. Due to the turbulent nature of the story, we are closing comments on this article, which originally published on July 14, 2016. However, we are happy to get feedback from our readers and invite them to email us at news@mittenbrew.com.

 

Being the first to do anything craft beer related in Kalamazoo these days is a tough proposition, but Aaron VanArsdale is pioneering an untapped market in the city with Craft Draft 2 Go, a tap room focused on packaging beer to go in either 64-ounce glass growlers or 32-ounce aluminum Crowlers.

Taking home a growler has long been a staple part of microbreweries, but prior to a state law passed in 2013 it wasn’t legal for bars in Michigan to fill growlers. When the law changed, many venues throughout the state started offering draft beer to-go, but Craft Draft 2 Go will be the first in Kalamazoo to offer a wide variety of craft beer on draft with to-go sales being the cornerstone when it opens the first week of August.

craft draft 2 go

Aaron VanArsdale

“In Cincinnati you can get a growler filled at a gas station,” said VanArsdale, who owns the bar with his business partner Shayne Sherman. “In Oregon it’s booming. In Arizona it’s booming. You can get a growler filled just about anywhere. So Kalamazoo, why not? Why has nobody done this?”

Craft Draft 2 Go will serve craft beer with a side of some serious technology. The bar uses a digital pour system so people can see in real time how much is left of each keg on their website and Facebook page. If your favorite is in the red, you should probably ask the boss to leave early that day. New tappings are announced on their Twitter feed as well.

Another innovation Craft Draft 2 Go will focus on is Crowlers, a 32-ounce can that is filled directly from the tap and sealed right at the bar, introduced by Oscar Blues Brewery in late 2013. A CO2 nozzle purges the can of oxygen immediately prior to filling and the seal prevents air penetration, keeping the beer inside fresh for longer. Currently, Rupert’s Brew House is the only other Kalamazoo establishment offering Crowlers.

“To me it was a no brainer,” VanArsdale said. “The convenience of the can is you don’t have to remember to bring it back with you and it’s recyclable. It’s up to you to recycle it, but the can is convenient to take to the golf course, take it on the boat, take it to the race track. And then when you’re done with it you don’t have to worry about breaking it.”

craftdraft2go

 

VanArsdale said he’s been working on the idea for Craft Draft 2 Go for about three years, but it started becoming reality last October when he took possession of the space at 4520 Stadium Drive in the University Commons retail center formerly housing a Radio Shack.

Inside, it’s impossible to tell Craft Draft 2 Go was a defunct electronics store less than a year ago. The black and red walls are broken up by expanses of reclaimed barnwood and sections of whiskey barrels form the bases of pendant light fixtures hanging above the bar. More reclaimed barn wood went into building the tap room’s tables, and Michigan-themed art is prevalent. Bottle caps from Michigan breweries even cover the screws securing the drink rail to the bar’s outer walls. VanArsdale, a Navy veteran, is especially proud of the prominently displayed U.S., Michigan, and Kalamazoo flags.

“You want to do it right and go big,” he said. “But sometimes when you go big you lose the little details. I wanted to focus on making sure we didn’t miss any of the little details.”

Craft Draft 2 Go seats about 50, but the bar stools stop about two-thirds of the way down the 36-foot, poured concrete-topped bar so patrons who come in for growler and Crowler fills have plenty of room and a clear view of the 50 taps, 35 to 40 of which featuring Michigan beer, VanArsdale said. He’s committed six taps to Bell’s Brewery and another four to Latitude 42 Brewing Company. Two taps are nitro capable, one of which is used to serve Michigan-sourced cold-brewed coffee, and another tap is dedicated to serving root beer from Tibbs Brewing Company.

“We’re going to have Tibbs and One Well,” VanArsdale said. “We’re always going to have some of the other proven breweries in the state of Michigan—Dark Horse, Founders, New Holland. Besides that there’s a lot of other great beer out there in different parts of America we want to bring in. People doing good beer that you don’t always see.”

While the tap room’s focus is on giving craft beer lovers the biggest selection of to-go craft beer in Kalamazoo, it also will feature some compelling reasons to stick around and sample a few brews before selecting a couple to take home. A staffed private suite with two additional dedicated taps, bringing the bar’s overall total to 52, is available. The bar will have Kill the Keg Mondays, offering discounts on tap room pours for kegs that have been going the longest, and New Tap Tuesdays celebrating whatever went on tap to replace the previous night’s casualties. They plan to spin records on monthly vinyl nights and also have a monthly Bells night.

“We want people to feel like this is their local watering hole,” VanArsdale said. “Somewhere they can come in and have a beer, have a decent conversation and forget about life for a while.”

 

Photography: Steph Harding

CASCADE — Harvest Health Foods, with a mission to bring wholesome, nutritious foods to your local neighborhood, might seem like the last place to get quality Michigan brewed beer, ciders and wines.

But you’d be wrong.

With multiple locations in the West Michigan area, Harvest Health has been around for over 60 years, and has grown to meet the needs and demands of health conscious, knowledgeable clientele. Recent growth includes the addition of these beer and wines that meet those customers’ requests — oftentimes for organic and gluten-free product.

Like the food they carry, Harvest Health looks for local, small batch and hand-crafted beverage options. One such product that is available at its Cascade location is Crows Hard Cider, a cidery out of Northern Michigan which starts with organic apples grown regionally, and expands in so many wonderfully flavorful and fun directions while retaining the trueness of their apples.

At Harvest Health, you can purchase a few of Crows’ varieties, such as coffee, chai and peach, as well as its Gold Medal winning Ciderrye — a rye whiskey barrel aged hard cider. A light whiskey aroma, semi-dry with a crisp finish, the Ciderrye is well worth the price and something unique to bring to a friend’s house on a winter evening.

For those folks with gluten sensitivity who want to enjoy craft drinks, a cider is a great option.

The Cascade location incorporated a beer, wine and cider section into the store in October 2014.

“Our customers asked for it. We have wines from around the world that are using certified organic grapes, and sustainability and biodiversity in their farming practices. With our craft beers, we are all about supporting our local partners, but also carry beers from around the world,” said Kelley Ginter, the shop’s beer and wine buyer.

With a wide range of customers — from families looking to purchase GMO free products for their kids, to the college kid trying to eat something better than fast food on the weekends — Harvest Health Foods sheds pretension and welcomes everyone to its store.

“We stay true to how we buy any other product in the store — we scrutinize ingredients, look to be local and look to be good to the earth as well,” said Ginter.

“We are trying to make every customer’s shopping experience done and complete here, and offer a shopping experience with a healthier spin to it.”

Stop by and check out an ever-expanding collection of craft beers, and stay for a tasting — the next one is today! Who knows — you might find a new favorite beer to pair with the organic chuck roast and veg you make for dinner tonight.

GRAND RAPIDS — “I always say the easiest way to describe us is that we are a store that has everything you need to throw a party,” says Amy Baas, Assistant Manger of Art of the Table.

The store, open since 2003, features everything from decor, food and libations for your next party. And the walk-in beer cooler in the back? That’s a specialty that Baas says makes the store unique from all the other shops out there.

“Everything is sold individually by the bottle,” Baas says. “Granted it’s not a huge space — we probably have about 180 different beers in there. We try not to get anything made by the big guys — we try to stick to craft.

“We love local, but we love good beer. We’ll source beer from all over the world as long as it’s good, tasty beer.”

The walk-in cooler, located in the back of the store in an old meat cooler that’s original to the building, is organized by style, from light to dark.

While most stores group breweries together, Baas wants to give people the ease of finding beers by a specific style they like.

“As you go around, you’ll start with ciders and light, easy drinking beers, then move in to pale ales, IPAs, brown ales, stouts and porters,” she says.

“If people have a favorite and they want to tell us, we are happy to get in beer that our customers want. We pride ourselves on being great with special orders.”

Art of the Table also offers weekly in-store beer tastings every Friday night from 5-7 p.m.

“You can usually try two to three different samples to experience something new or different,” says Baas. “Often we’ll feature a certain style where you can compare, or we’ll feature a certain brewery.”

Beginning Friday, Art of the Table is also having a promotion with its beer selection. Customers who purchase a six pack of beer gets a free can of Proper Soda’s Hop Soda to try out, while supplies last.

ANN ARBOR — Not your typical bottle shop, the Whole Foods Market Cranbrook location’s beer department offers a wide range of bottles sourced from Michigan to Belgium and beyond. You’ll find their vast stock in cold storage spread out over three different sections of the store.

Katy Jensen, beer specialist, is in charge of buying for the store’s inventory, including all selections on tap at the in-store beer and wine bar, and for customer keg orders. She has assembled one of the area’s largest single bottle selections for mixed six packs. Those can be found between the produce area and the seafood counter.

The large cooler section at the back of the store holds all packaged beers from four packs to cases. Large format bottles are found near the bar along with a portion of the store’s pre-packaged cheeses.

Looking for that next limited release beer? “[They’re sold at] first come first served — we do not do lists, we just want everyone to get a shot at it,” said Jensen.

“Not even all of our team members are able to buy them.”

A discount of 10% off is applied to any bottle purchase that totals six units, including large format and multiples of four or six pack bottles and cans.

Customers can purchase beer and wine by the glass at the bar for consumption anywhere within the store. The staff prides themselves on their knowledge — each team member is capable of helping a customer choose.

Happy Hour runs every day from 4-7 p.m., giving customers $1 off each glass of beer poured from the taps.

Grab lunch from the diner and have a seat, or walk around with your beverage as you shop. Artisanal cheese plates are offered at the bar as well. If you prefer to drink a brew available only in bottles, you may bring one to the bar to be opened and served for a minor corkage fee.

Growler fills are available for $12 to $40 depending on the beer, with the store offering empty glass jugs for $4 a piece. This is an especially popular option when the bar hosts it’s semi-monthly tap takeover events.

Sampling happens often in the store during special tasting events. Depending on the price, a staff member may also be able to open a bottle for a customer who wants a free taste of something not available by the glass at the bar.

Happy Hour pricing and information on tasting events can be found on the department’s Facebook page.

And for those who might not be up for a glass of beer, the store offers a vast wine menu.

“We try to keep per glass prices low to help in exposing people to new things, grapes they may never have had,” said Whisper Smith, wine specialist.

GRAND RAPIDS — You might not notice it at first, but behind Celebration! Cinema and across from Meijer on Knapp Street, you’ll find one of the most unique bottle shops in the area.

The Crushed Grape, opened since 2008, is known for its second floor wine loft, unique food items, spirits and craft beer.

“It’s always been kind of a dream to have a shop like this,” says owner Gary Greer. “I’ve worked in this industry for a really long time, and just felt that it was time to make something of my own.”

Somewhat of a hidden gem, The Crushed Grape caters to any type of customer — no matter what they’re looking for.

“We make sure that everyone who comes into the store gets a uniquely special experience,” says Greer.

Weekly wine and beer tastings are offered each Saturday from Noon to 3 p.m., and the shop also offers instructional nights and special tastings with experts and visiting winemakers.

But while the shop’s name screams wine, Greer isn’t holding back on his beer selection either.

“I think my beer cooler, while not the biggest in the area, is probably the most diverse around in terms of six packs,” he says.

Greer highlights craft beer in a corner of the store, with a wall of coolers full of six packs, as well as two coolers offering single bottles for purchase.

While many of the beer available is from Michigan, there is also a variety of other states and countries represented. Some of those aren’t available elsewhere in the area, allowing Greer to highlight those during the free tastings.

And if you want something that’s not available, the staff can special order it.

But for Greer and the rest of his staff, The Crushed Grape is more than just offering a variety of libations. it’s about offering a superior product, with great customer service and an experience like no other for the customer.

“We have a lot of really unique things here, as far as food and our wine selection, and we work really hard to put together a really great craft beer selection,” says Greer.

ANN ARBOR — On the rear side of the Plymouth Road Mall, you’ll find The Wine Seller.

As the name implies, the store’s roots are as a wine specialty shop. When they took ownership in 2005, brothers Hardik and Swetang Patel added craft beer. Motivated by the increasing craft revolution a few years later, an expansion took place into the adjoining space vacated when a branch of the Ann Arbor District Library moved into a new building.

Resident shop mutt, Hailey, may greet you at the door with an appeal to be petted before you move on to the outstanding beer selection awaiting your perusal. She has been a fixture in the business since 2009 when she was eight weeks old. After hours, Hailey shares her time between the owners’ homes.

The brothers are equally involved in keeping the store well-stocked. Hardik takes care of the beer buying, while Swetang is in charge of the wine selection. Both know their stuff and are more than happy to help you navigate the myriad choices.

“We try to represent full lineups of Michigan breweries when we can,” said Hardik.

A special order may be possible if they don’t have what a customer wants on hand. Any beverage, from a single bottle to a keg can be requested in person or by calling, e-mailing or submitting an inquiry on the store’s website.

Store manager Dan Rye, who jokes that he has a lot beers named after him, says he’s also the jack of all trades, including dog walker for Hailey. On cue, Hailey popped her head above the counter to agree. Rye, on staff for three years, has a wealth of current craft knowledge and is eager to share it with customers.

Visitors to The Wine Seller are advised to take some time to thoroughly browse the many shelves and cooler spaces. Hidden gems often appear between regular offerings. Craft beer enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised to occasionally discover a sought-after bottle sitting among the store’s daily stock.

“When special edition beers come in, we will limit a customer’s purchase to single bottles though, so more people can get a chance to try them,” said Hardik.

Friday nights, the brothers host free tastings for customers, with the schedule alternating between beer and wine. Often a brewery or vineyard representative is on hand to discuss the libation being served.

ROYAL OAK – Holiday Market has been in business since 1954, back when they started as a small butcher shop and grocery store.

As of 2014, the shop is over 20 times its original size and still putting an emphasis on quality products and services, particularly when it comes to craft beer.

That’s where Beer Manager Ashley Price comes in.

Price handles all of the research, ordering and stocking of beer in the store and has been doing so for several years. He knows what his customers are looking for…most of the time.

“People are promiscuous,” he said. “They buy different things every single time they come in here.”

Price takes a great deal of pride in the interaction he has with customers on a regular basis.

“I try to help everyone find the right beer for them,” he said.

And when shoppers are unsure about what they’re looking for, he knows exactly where to point them.

“More often than not, I try to shift them on to Michigan craft. I absolutely push everything Michigan,” Price said. “Customers will ask me if its Michigan made. And I’ll usually find them an option that they’ll absolutely love.”

Price and Holiday have grown their selection of beers tremendously over the years. The location of the beer is in one of the back corners of the market. A walk down the long aisle and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a cooler full of cold brew on the left and long, sustaining shelves of additional bottles on the right. The selection is overwhelming at times.

Holiday Market has a very loyal following on their Facebook page, where Price updates customers on delivery days and anytime there are specialties in the store, which are handled on a first come, first served model.

“Originally it was created to keep some regular customers updated so I didn’t have to use my personal page,” he said. “It just kind of grew and grew and got a little out of control. Now it’s something I use every single week.”

Although the market is doing remarkably well with keeping customers informed in addition to being applauded for their selection, Price doesn’t feel they’re considered a destination bottle shop.

“I wouldn’t put that label on us,” he said. “We’re good at what we do and we’re in a really good position geographically. That community around us really helps.”