There are always a few moments in your life where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when something momentous happens. I was on a walk along the beach in the North Shore with my now-wife, Vickie, when a notification popped up on my phone: “offer accepted – we’re in boys!”. Whoa. My mind started racing, my heart pounding and an overwhelming sense of… well – everything: joy, wonder, nervousness, excitement. “What is it?” Vickie asked. “The brewery. It’s happening.”
Neil, Warren and I had spent months cultivating our business plan and put in countless hours trying to find a location to match. We had some great conversations with the Gibsons Public Market. Rae Abbott, in charge of the Market’s vendors, was so great to work with. We were all doing mental gymnastics trying to figure out a way to make it work... but at the end of the day, there simply wasn’t enough physical space to operate a taproom-focused brewery there.
From there, we tried everything – Craigslist, newspapers, calling friends of friends of friends, literally driving around the streets of Gibsons hoping to spot a ‘for lease’ sign, and there was nothing. We started to look at buying a building. There were a lot of question marks: could we afford it?, would it be too much risk?, would a bank really lend us that much money without any sales and no formal experience in the industry? When we saw the building, we loved it. It was right in the heart of Lower Gibsons, had a long and interesting history, and somehow was perfectly set up for us – a large, industrial style area in the back and a more tap-room friendly/retail area in the front. Somehow, the seller was also willing to have a closing date 5 months in advance – giving us a head start on fundraising, the many applications, hiring subcontractors, etc. etc. etc.
Vickie and I walked back to our car – it was a surreal moment. It was happening. It was real. And there was soooo much work to do.