Before the real content gets started, I’d like to mention the title and the fact that I feel clever about most of them. While I enjoy the amusement I feel from them and will likely continue the trend, I am curious if other people get amused too or not so much. Frankly, I’m curious to any feedback there may be on the blogs. Maybe there’s too much rambling, details, or not enough. I welcome some feedback whether as a comment or through social media @liftnbrews sending a message or email. Thanks!
That stuff was on my mind and perhaps by having it up front, it’ll be more noteworthy. Regarding meeting in Missouri, I had Big Muddy CrossFit recommend CrossFit 26 as a spot to check out. I decided to pop in and Elizabeth was inquisitive and thorough regarding my journey and intentions. I never mind providing any relevant information I can for owners. I’ve run a few small businesses and with people stopping in, they often want to sell crap and are pushy. I’m not selling anything. I just want a chance to learn and provide some exposure of their gym and a great avenue for them to learn from each other as well. I learned at CrossFit 26 that with little capital and a lot of creativity, good things and growth can happen.
As I was walking towards that gym, I noticed some sort of marketing place. I’m still lacking stickers for my new car, telling people to follow my trip! I popped in to see about that possibility and it was just an embroidery place.
Moving on, I recalled Josh from CrossFit MetroEast said CrossFit Gambit was a place he knew the owner and would reach out for me. I decided to check it out and after talking with a coach, she relayed my message to Andrew who was able to meet. I heard about the great impact the book Good to Great by Jim Collins had on him and his business. For those curious, here is a link to a Good to Great Summary I wrote a few years back that is posted on the Nonprofit website my grad school buddy Sean and I formed. -fun fact, Sean also helps me with the blog posting, which makes things easier for me while providing a chance to share stories with him.
I hadn’t had much luck with St. Louis breweries. I had gone with my buddy and his friend to a couple, but one was majority owned by a private equity group, and another the employees weren’t super helpful.
The place to sleep for the night was in Missouri, this time in Columbia. My connection in Columbia was my friend from grad school who was in between trips in Chicago (mentioned in a previous blog). He was to be in Columbia for 2 weeks doing research on capillaries I believe. Frankly, he’s working on post doc stuff which is far more detailed than I know much about. I decided to head towards his way and try my luck in Columbia or perhaps a town on the way.
I had tried to identify any breweries on the way but was having trouble with google maps. I decided to just take the nearest exit, and be fully engaged -something I should’ve done in the first place. As it turned out, I was kitty cornered from a brewery! I cruised over immediately and met with Marc, who was in process of shifting his brand to separate the brewery from a home brewery business. I heard how people often hear it takes twice as long as you think and costs more too, but it is true. He, along with many others including myself had thoughts that it is possible to make things happen to get it done. There are too many factors that hinder that ability though. Marc was kind enough to offer up a beer as we chatted and gave me a recommendation to Friendship Brewing.
I left and went over to Friendship. It was around 530pm or so, which is later than my normal good timeline for luck when trying to meet with owners. Meanwhile, I was a little concerned about my 1.5-hour drive to Columbia and meeting up with my buddy at a decent hour. I had to push on. I spoke with a member of the staff who said she’d talk to him but he seemed a bit busy. I went to the bathroom and upon returning she pointed at him at the bar. I patiently waited a few feet back as he chatted a customer. He said I wanted him and was welcoming. Upon his kindness of offering me a beer we chatted and I heard how putting deliberate purpose and effort into a warm environment makes a big difference. Brian had traveled to hundreds of breweries himself prior to starting his and not only did he gain invaluable information, he said he would do his best to help me with connections along the way! He was also able to introduce me to his business partner and I could pick his brain a bit as well. Before departing they gave me a shirt and certainly lived up to the name.
I had done it! I got 4 meetings done in one day. This is great for my efficiency, but it does set me back in writing up the conversations. I’ve basically accepted that will be the case, until perhaps Hawaii, the end. I cruised to Columbia and met my buddy and his colleague at a pizza place for pizza and beer. It was solid pizza. They covered the pizza and since I had already benefitted from my buddy at a place in Chicago and with breakfast sandwiches, I said I had to get the next round at the next place.
We went to a place with a large selection of taps but I had to go with Missouri beers. They were a dollar cheaper! They were also local too, although I was bummed Friendship wasn’t on tap. It was a solid brown beer, but their emphasis on is their taproom. I even got a picture of us to share with those following the trip. One small regret was not being as pleasant or “on” as I could’ve been with someone that was chatting with us. They were asking about the normal stuff and then the trip and were questioning me on the bottle opener and purpose. When explaining, they seemed to question that, rather than accept it. I’m all for questioning information and seeking more, but this was just not my favorite approach in the moment. It was more of doubt for doubt sake rather than seeking to understand or consider ideas. Plus, it was later in the night after a long day of events. It wasn’t horrible, but I will say I did reflect and realize that regardless how I feel in that moment, as someone promoting something bigger than me, I need to suck it up and be pleasant to all I come across.
For those that didn’t completely make the inference, I was able to crash in my buddy’s hotel room. It was still better than my car and a huge bonus beyond the morning shower was grubbing on a Belgian waffle with peanut butter and syrup, a sandwich I made with English muffin, scrambled eggs and sausages, and biscuits and gravy with eggs and blueberries. Solid morning!