- October 30, 2017
Family owned for nearly 40 years.
Conveniently located right off of Route 100, Interstate 78 and the PA Turnpike, Iron Run Beverage has served this bustling area of Lehigh County for close to 4 decades. Inside the store, the friendly faces of owners Ed and Judy Rau, their children & grandchildren can often be found assisting customers amongst the neatly stacked cases or behind the counter. You might even be greeted by the store’s unofficial mascot, a Labrador mix named Aspen, sporting the latest Labatt or Coors t-shirt.
Heady Times (HT): Can you tell us about the history of your business?
Ed Rau (ER): I was actually looking at newspaper ads to buy a golf course and I saw a beer distributor being sold, which I ended up purchasing. Our first location had an apartment above the store and that’s where my family and I lived. We outgrew that space 22 years ago and moved to our current location. It was just a single building back then. About 11 years ago we added the rest of the strip mall.
HT: How has your business changed since you opened?
ER: We added coolers, gondolas for single serves and implemented a new computer system, all in the last few months! There are also so many more products available and it gets tough to keep up with all of them. As a distributor owner, our sales reps are vital in keeping us up-to-date on what’s out there.
HT: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
ER: Probably all the changes the state has made over the last few years. Somehow you just make it work, it sure wasn’t easy. The computer stuff is what’s the hardest for me. That’s where our daughters and [son-in-law] Jeff are fantastic.
Judy Rau (JR): I agree. All the changes to the laws in Pennsylvania have been difficult. It’s like you’re always in limbo. And the expense to make the change to go from the old distributor that looked more like a warehouse to something inviting for the consumer.
ER: I think we’ve made it pretty shoppable. We widened the aisles and have shopping carts. Tommy gets a lot of positive feedback on the changes we’ve made lately.
HT: What makes you stand out from other accounts in the area?
ER: We have a good selection and a very shoppable store. We have great customer service, Tommy loves talking to people. I’ve had people tell me they like it because it’s family-run. They like to see our daughters here on the weekends. We also have a great location and plenty of parking.
JR: And Aspen!
ER: Yes, our dog Aspen is usually here. Everyone loves her. When we give t-shirts away during samplings we always put one on her and she wears it around the store. The customers just love it!
ironrunbeverage.com • 7525 Tilghman St., Allentown, PA • 610-395-2161