Trappe Beer and Soda or Austin’s Beverages?

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Angermeier

A student weighs the pros and cons of shopping at two local beverage businesses 

Andrew Simoncini

ansimoncini@ursinus.edu

This country has produced some hardcore rivalries, but none compare to a more unknown rivalry in the small towns of Trappe and Collegville. The competion for business is fueled by students of age choosing between two stores, Trappe Beer and Soda and Austin’s Beverages. For years, the students of Ursinus College have had their pick at which store to go to, almost all of them having their own personal reasons as to why they go to a certain one over the other.

When asked which store he preferred, junior Travis Kozak said, “I go to Austin’s because the Natty Light is cheaper, there’s a bigger selection, and they just have nicer people.”

Another junior, Pierce Greenleaf, weighed in as well stating, “It’s kind of a toss-up, deciding which way you want to drive basically … I have to say Trappe Beer and Soda is a nice place to go.”

While these comments are helpful, more factors need to go into the decision than one store just having “nice people.”  We need to look at the pros and cons of going to each store which should include distance, prices, and customer service.

PROS FOR TRAPPE BEER AND SODA:

If you leave Ursinus and take a right on Main St., Trappe Beer and Soda is only 1.3 miles away, which is perfect if you’re in a huge time crunch and need to find cheap beer on a budget.

Speaking of prices, they can be hard to beat on any given week.  Just two weeks ago, Trappe Beer and Soda was selling a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) for only $10. I’m not a genius, but I am a stingy college student and I can say for a fact that 30 beers for $10 is a no-brainer. I don’t even care if you don’t like PBR. Even if I hated it, consider me a buyer.

As a buyer, I value customer service when I am shopping for beer. And since I’ve started shopping at Trappe Beer and Soda, I’ve personally had a great relationship with the owner. That guy hooks me up with free products all the time, ranging anywhere from different beer samples, to Jon Gruden cutouts. Yes, you read that correctly; he gave me a life-sized cutout of Jon Gruden holding a Corona. That type of relationship is what keeps customers coming back for more. He also gave me a Frank’s Hot Sauce beer from his personal collection. If that’s not friendship, I’m not sure what is. Making customers feel special is a huge key to running a successful business.

While we are talking about perks and convenience, I must also mention their hours and days of operation. According to their website, Trappe Beer and Soda is open all year round, even on holidays, which can be helpful if you are on your way to visit friends and family. However, we must talk about the cons as well.

CONS:

If you’ve ever been there during rush hour, you know what I’m about to say.  Making that left turn out of the parking lot is nearly impossible.  You can’t really fault the store for that as much as you can fault other drivers who are also in a rush.  However, it does keep customers from travelling to the store, so we must take it into account.

Another issue I have is the steep price of Mexican beer.  Pacifico and Tecate are great beers but I can’t really condone spending over $30 for a 24 pack of Pacifico. Other than those two factors, I don’t have anything negative to say about Trappe Beer and Soda.

PROS FOR AUSTIN’S BEVERAGES:

If you take a left out of Ursinus on Main Street, Austin’s is also 1.3 miles away, which is also convenient if you’re in a time crunch.

Like Trappe Beer and Soda, Austin’s is open seven days a week, however, their website does not specify their holiday policy. Their website does state that “Austin’s Beverages has been a family-owned business for over 60 years.” So if you are looking for a store that is preserving a family’s legacy in the Collegeville area, then Austin’s Beverages may be for you.

In addition to having friendly staff, Austin’s provides a great experience for customers in a different way than Trappe Beer and Soda. They raffle off desirable items to their customers, who can enter to win when they visit the store. Every time I walk in there, it seems like they are giving away a TV or some other big ticket item.

The thrill of throwing my name and number in the box to win a TV is second to none and can make a customer feel like he’s number one. Other than that, I don’t believe the cost of cases compared to Trappe Beer and Soda makes that much of a difference when choosing between the two stores.

CONS:

In my visits to Austin’s Beverages, I have found it hard to find the deals that I can find at Trappe Beer and Soda. I acknowledge that I’m not a regular of their establishment, so that may be why I had trouble with their deals.

And once again, the placement of the store isn’t exactly favorable if you’re caught in traffic, because trying to make that right turn out of the parking lot at rush hour is just as much of a pain as making the left out of Trappe Beer and Soda.

THE VERDICT:

After weighing out the pros and cons of each, I’m a ride-or-die Trappe Beer and Soda guy. For me, having an “in” makes everything better in the world of Trappe Beer and Soda. As with any rivalry, it comes down to what each customer is looking for from their local beer store. Both businesses are from our community and deserve our loyalty as customers.

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