About a week after opening, business at new beer market and bar Sturm Haus is solid.
"We've been very pleased with the reception from the community," one of the owners, Marsha Sturm, said Tuesday. "We've been very busy for Friday and Saturday, and then the weekday traffic has been steady."
Sturm Haus specializes in craft beer that can be purchased and taken home in six-packs or growlers, which come in 32 or 64 ounces. The beer stays sealed off in the growler in the store for customers to take home and keep fresh for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, Marsha said.
The growler concept is popular in other parts of the country, Marsha said. It is environmentally friendly and helps promote responsible drinking in that it allows customers to take the drinks home.
On-site, customers can order pints and singles to drink at the Houston Street location.
Marsha—along with her husband, Dave, and son, Matt—initially began thinking about a business venture when Dave got laid off from his computer programming work a couple of years ago.
Marsha has a career in office management but was out of work at that time too, so they started looking for alternatives.
Since then, they have both gone back to work and are juggling that and their new business.
The 1,300-square-foot space is next to Sekisui, which is the former Table 2 restaurant.
There's a pool table and sand shuffleboard table, as well as a full craft line of beer, many of which are from around the region. There are imports and 14 beers on tap as well. Beer from Chattanooga Brewing Company is also available there.
"We are trying to stick with the craft market as much as we can," Marsha said. "We are trying to shape our sales to what our customers want but at the same time support local breweries."
The family fell in love with the space, which is in the Fleetwood Building, Marsha said.
"It's kind of a neighborhood gathering place," she said. "It's a good area—kind of off the tourist [path]."
Chattanooga resident Chelsea Sadler, 23, heard about the new business through Matt. Her husband visited on open night and took her last week.
Sadler said she loves the atmosphere, which she said is clean and comfortable.
"I love going to cool places in Chattanooga, but I hate dealing with lots of smoke," she said via email. "Sturm Haus is definitely cool and has zero smoke inside—thank goodness."
She also loved the free pool and shuffleboard and the wide variety of beers.
Nick Brown, Chattanooga resident, played pool and drank beer Tuesday evening at Sturm Haus, and the self-proclaimed "beer snob" said he is excited that there is a new place that focuses on good beer.
"It's not for your frat boys who want to drink Miller Lite," he said.