Residents of Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood have watched Chuck’s Hop Shop evolve before their very eyes. What was once a ramshackle bodega that one would not let their children (or mother’s) enter, is at present one of Seattle’s largest and most beloved beer destinations. When Chuck took over the space he added some fresh paint, better lighting, and overall made the store more welcoming. Still, it was a convenience store with an interesting, if modest beer selection. Over the course of the first two years shelves filled with Hostess and Frito Lay snacks were replaced with more refrigeration cases and beers from across the globe. Chuck would partner with local breweries for special tasting nights. The interesting environment combined with his friendly demeanor found patrons wanting to linger longer and taste the interesting beers. Soon Chuck brought in beer on tap, for sale in growlers or to consume in the store. After just over two years, the shop has transformed into a neighborhood pub/7-eleven/community gathering spot. The place is always packed, and with neighborhood kids and dogs also welcomed, has a frenetic energy all it’s own.
Chuck’s social media strategy followed a similar transformation. Initially their presence was limited, as Chuck’s seemed to still be figuring out what they wanted to be. The uniqueness of the transformation was just the kind of thing social media helped spread. Many wanted to share their pleasant experience in such an unusual space. Through local neighborhood blogs, Yelp, and Foursquare the secret slowly got out. Now that attracting customers was no longer an issue, Chuck’s social media strategy transitioned from passive to active, adding greater value and building a community outside of the store. Chuck’s inventory changes daily, and keeping customers abreast of new products keeps them coming back into the store. Given the high amount of alcohol consumed in the store, the need for food options beyond Doritos was addressed by inviting local food trucks. Seven days a week, a different food truck is parked in Chuck’s lot. Given that food and beer changes daily, Chuck’s has little challenge with sourcing content for their Facebook or Twitter pages. Daily updates ensure that customers never forget that Chuck’s is nearby.