WATSONVILLE — Over the last month David Purgason and Tallula Preston went through a mild refresher course on what it takes to run a small business.
The co-owners of newly-established Fruition Brewing have used Sundays in June as test runs for their official opening day, scheduled for Saturday from 1-8 p.m.
What did they learn during those “soft openings?”
“It was mostly the little things like having more chairs, more tables, more glassware,” Purgason said. “You forget some of those things.”
Those “little things” did not detract from Fruition’s overwhelmingly successful launch in the East Lake Village shopping center. The small-batch brewery has been flooded with beer aficionados itching for a taste of their wide selection — they brew everything from lagers to double IPAs, stouts and mixed-fermentation table beers — and locals looking to spend a buck in town.
“It’s been overwhelming in a good way,” Purgason said. “We’ve been working on this for so long it’s been fun to finally meet everyone that’s been peeking through our windows for months and share our beer with people.”
Most of the people that have walked through the doors of the large industrial-inspired building have found the brewery seemingly through word of mouth, Purgason said. They have done little advertising about the soft openings, only posting updates through their Instagram and Facebook accounts, which together have roughly 3,500 followers.
“We’ve had a great turnout so far and we haven’t really made a big deal about it,” Purgason said.
Fruition is expected to be swarmed once again on Saturday, and Sunday won’t be much different, as the East Lake shopping center will host a car show fundraiser for the Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I think we’re ready for it,” Purgason said.
Purgason said Saturday has been more than four years in the making, as he and Preston started making business plans nearly a half-decade ago. It took them a little more than three years to find a location, and about a year-and-a-half to turn the 4,400-square-foot location into what it is today.
Along the way, Purgason said his mentor Sean Venus, property managers Clark and Chris Codiga and the community, which late last year donated nearly $40,000 to the brewery’s Indiegogo funding campaign, have been essential to the process.
For East Lake Village property manager Clark Codiga, Fruition’s presence in the shopping center has been a decade-long fight. The economic downturn in 2009 hampered business opportunities, and not until a few years ago did Codiga and brother Chris have success in bringing in new businesses that matched their outlook for the center.
“The time wasn’t right for something like this before, but the perception of Watsonville is changing,” Codiga said. “I think people are starting to understand what we’ve been saying all along. People are starting to finally understand Watsonville, and what it’s all about.”