North Texas Daily

Local beer business outgrows old store and expands its market

Local beer business outgrows old store and expands its market

February 11
02:11 2016

John Hoang | Staff Writer

Midway Craft House owner Shakeel Merchant, 47, walks through the aisle, inspecting a wide selection of beer ranging from local breweries in Denton to international beverages from Germany and the Philippines.

Midway Mart will update its costumers about all new arrivals, and will also order new brews on costumer demand. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

Midway Mart will update its costumers about all new arrivals, and will also order new brews on costumer demand. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

His 43-year-old co-owner Shaun Tapia sits behind the counter, greeting customers as they walk in while he manages the cash register.

On Dec. 1, Merchant and Tapia, opened Midway Craft House located on Welch and Hickory streets, to create a market to reach college students by the bars on Fry Street. The original shop, located on Hickory Street and Carroll Boulevard, opened in 1995 as Midway Mart, with only a few types of beer. As the demand for craft beer grew, the store began to stock more local alcoholic beverages to meet customer needs.

“We spend so much time here in this community, and I love working here.” Tapia said. “I think I actually spend more time here than at home.”

Merchant and Tapia look for new beers on websites and social media while making orders daily to ensure a unique stock. When looking for alcoholic beverages, they make sure it has been approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The owners also take suggestions from customers who want to try something new.

“If a customer demands it, and if we can get it, we’ll make sure it’s in stores,” Tapia said.

Merchant and Tapia educate their customers about how certain brews compare to other beers. The brands of the beverages have been an integral part of the business, Merchant said. The Midway Craft House is known for its IPA, sour beer, lagers and other selections.

Shakeel Merchant graduated from UNT, and had the store passed down to him by his father. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

Shakeel Merchant graduated from UNT and had the store passed down to him by his father. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

“[It’s necessary to] have good customer service and talk to them while having good knowledge on beer,” Tapia said. “And just being nice to people at work.”

To meet customer demands, Merchant and Tapia constantly look for new beer and merchandise to keep a unique and abundant stock. They believe diversity holds a key component to success in Denton, as no one beer consistently sells the best or has the most demand every week.

“With the craft industry, so many breweries are coming up, and tastes have diversified,” Tapia said. “It’s different now.”

Midway’s market remains accessible to many customers by holding specials for packs of beer with affordable prices that are often cheaper than other stores.

“We have beers on special and people love it,” Tapia said. People always come in looking for it.”

As the popularity of the original store grew, the size of the Midway Mart couldn’t manage the stock and the ambitions of Merchant. He searched for a new store for about a year before finding the location on Hickory and Welch streets.

“[Midway Mart] is too small, and it’s almost wall-to-wall,” Merchant said. “This new place came up, and we went in and bought it.”

Customers can select special offers that allow them to buy a large quantities for an affordable price. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

Customers can select special offers that allow them to buy in bulk. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

The owners feel optimistic about the Midway Craft House’s future, and they feel their experience and the culture of Denton will contribute to future success.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time, and once we have new and fully-trained employees along with the store completely set up, it should be great,” Tapia said.

With the new store in a transition phase, Merchant and Tapia have worked to build up the new location. The Midway Craft House implemented new coolers and will feature build-your-own six packs along with the conversion of the smoothie bar from the previous shop into a growler bar.

“I love customers and the variety of beer selections,” Merchant said. “The store is growing every day.”

Tapia and Merchant utilize social media to showcase new beers coming into the store. Merchandise such as shirts, glassware and growlers are sold in-store to help advertise and build their brand. The owners hope to maintain good relations with the community by meeting their alcoholic beverage needs and presenting exceptional customer service.

“Denton is a good town, and people are friendly,” Tapia said. “People like the brand and will put their heart into the business.”

Featured Image: Midway Mart offers a plethora of beers to satisfy costumers from all walks of life. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

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