I have two homebrew shops nearby I'll break it down for each one:
close to work, i can run there during lunch
very expensive, they charge more than double what NB/B3 charges for grain and most other items.
The owners are knowledgeable, but the staff has given me very bad information on several occasions, i stick to forums now for info.
Staff is often less than helpful, and never seem pleased.
the clonebrew kit i tried was nothing like it was advertised and it was missing a hop addition.
hours are odd, they change every day and aren't open most evenings.
website is beyond out of date, prices listed there are drastically different, when holding the printout from the website they basically told me tough s*** the price is what its listed on the store not the website.
less than a mile from my house
service is excellent, owner always greets me with a smile, almost always gives me a discount just for being a loyal customer.
price is comparable to online for wine kits.
knows almost nothing about beer brewing/mead/fermentables other than wine kits
continually tries to sell me on premade wort kits/extract kits (i'm an ag brewer and see no reason to go back to extract)
does not stock grain, hops and only carries US-05
very small shop
wealth of knowledge in the forums
I've been pleased with every purchase i've ever made from them
lots of information included with their kits
excellent customer service
stock everything i need
waiting for shipping, living in ct i generally order from nb which isn't bad, b3 takes longer as they are in CA.
i worry about the yeast health in transit during extreme temperatures
I'm all for supporting local business, especially those related to brewing but i have a hard time shopping at either. Shop 1 i vow to never go back to every time i walk out of there and get gouged on price. Shop 2 just doesn't stock most of the items I need. I'll go to shop 2 for all my wine making (i brew way more beer than wine) and for general equipment (carboys, siphons, brushes). He has mentioned that he will hopefully eventually stock grain, but I don't think that he has enough room.