Tens of thousands of cases of beer all in one building. Some in coolers, others just stacked up as high as 8 feet. Aisles of smooth concrete cut in-between the palettes of cases. Everything is bright and pleasing to the eyes. A person hesitates for a few seconds to take it all in.
A beer distributor can be a great place of business, however to a young child such as myself who as been around it since birth it can be an even greater playground. With so many different sized stacks of beer and plenty of places to hide it becomes the best place for things such as hide and go seek, tag, etc. The best days to be at the store were the days a truck of beer was being unloaded. This provided lots of precariously high palettes that you could sit on while being pushed around the warehouse to wherever it had to be placed. While growing up, it was found by my younger brother and I that you could rollerblade around the warehouse and that it was incredibly fast and there was basically a set track that you could just keep circling. This added a whole new aspect of fun to the store for us as well as another thing to look forward to when going to the store.
You enter the building through two sets of sliding glass doors that open automatically. As you turn left and walk towards the back there are double-doors that open up to a garage that holds the forklift as well as a big garage door that opens to the outside to allow the forklift to set beer inside the building from the awaiting truck parked just outside. While walking back in from the garage, to the right is the row of coolers that extends the length of the warehouse. After you walk the entire length of the warehouse, you come up to the office. You then walk into the office through its wooden door with glass windows looking out to the warehouse and a faint squeak that exists still to this day. There was always dry warmth that filled the office because of the heat being turned up much higher than needed on account of my grandpa. At seven o-clock you could count on hearing the TV on with the Pennsylvania Lottery tune blaring and then the numbers being announced.
I always loved going to the store because, along with my dad and grandpa owning it, there seemed to always be someone at the store who was friends with my family who were funny or told good stories and almost always had candy or something good to give my brother and I. As I got older I was able to drive the forklift to unload beer from trucks and then have it hand-carted around the warehouse. This became another thing I loved to do at the store. There always seemed to be something going on either at the store or that my grandpa would want me to go out and help him with, which I loved doing.
My grandpa was always involved in something other than the beer store such as a garage and things but I always seemed to associate him with the store. He would always tell me stories about things he did when he was younger or just about things that happened earlier on in his life. I loved hearing about the things that he did, even if some of them were repeated over and over again over the course of years. These were things that I cherished about the store and always will.
Although my grandpa, as well as grandma has passed away I will always associate the store with fun times and most of all family. Every time I walk in the store I expect my grandpa to say, “So what’s new Matthew.” Although he is no longer there I still look forward to being at the store. It is a place of great comfort and memories that I am very fond of. A sense of nostalgia always seems to come over me. I see it has a testament to hard work started by my grandfather and continued by my father. It is a place I am proud of and proud to be a part of.