Collinsville-native Christian Powell has taken over the home brewing and wine-making retail business in downtown Belleville formerly known as Dave's Home Brew. Powell has held a number of jobs and is looking forward to being his own boss. He recently sat down with business writer Will Buss to talk about it:
Why did you buy this business?
"It's always been a great anchor of the neighborhood. It's not too hard to get behind beer- and wine-making kits, it's such an enjoyable hobby and the product line has always been great. It kind of became a no-brainer when it became available to try to attain it."
Are you making any changes?
"The name is changing. The overall theme of the place is going to remain the same. We're going to be full-service home brewing and wine making. We are going to be expanding that line as time and resources allow and we'll be basically keeping the theme of the place the same, but just expanding everything that works well."
Where had you worked in the past?
"I've been self-employed in the past. With my previous experience, I understood how the retail industry works and I've been behind the scenes of small businesses many times. I was fairly familiar with it and ready to put my stamp on it. I've been in retail for years, off and on. I was ready to get back into being self-employed."
What else have you done?
"I was in bands for years. I still play music, but not so much professionally anymore. I was in touring bands for many years and we did our stints across the U.S. and regionally, mainly. We still get together and perform, but now we're a little older and have families and professions, so it's not as easy for us to go on the road, but we do a weekend warrior gig now and then."
Who have you worked with in the industry?
"We did an album with a guy who lives up in Chicago and has a studio up there. He had done acts like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Page and Plant. He did a record for us that was probably our most popular. I was self-employed in the home-improvement business for several years and I had done work as a territory sales rep for Rand McNally before all of the layoffs happened. The GPS industry kind of killed them. Most recently, previous to this, I worked at a place called The Flag Loft St. Louis, which dealt with huge flags and massive commercial flag poles on top of cell phone towers."
How long have you been in the beer- and wine-supplier business?
"This started in late August."
How is business?
"Fantastic. It's really good. This is pretty much the best time of the year, heading into the busy holiday season. It's been non-stop since I took over."
What have you enjoyed most about it?
"All of my hard work is done for the benefit of myself and my family and my employees and not for some faceless corporation."
Name: Christian Powell
Job: Owner, Happy Hop Homebrew and Gourmet at 122 E. Main St. in Belleville (277-2550)
Outlook: "The name is changing. The overall theme of the place is going to remain the same."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.