Laura Elwood, president and owner of Chamberlain Concierge and Lifestyle Management, which acquired the trolley company last September, approached Higgs about the opportunity.
Each week, the trolley takes a five-hour excursion to visit three different breweries in the area.
What did you think of the proposal when Laura (Elwood) contacted you?
I actually thought it was a great idea. I was kind of surprised, because I don’t know the inner workings or anything about it. I think it was great that she thought of me to be the person that would be interested enough to take the position to be like a liaison, the maestro or DJ, whatever the term is, to take everybody around town. I know all the breweries around town, too, so that helps a lot.
Did it take you long to say yes?
No. I didn’t know if it would work when I asked what day is it … because Sundays, normally I work over at Forager. So I just pretty much shifted things around where I do the tour up until the last week of October. Every Sunday, 12 to 5, up through the last week of October — it’s a nice change of pace.
What is the appeal of this job, to lead these tours and talk about the breweries here in Southeast Minnesota?
It shows how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come. I feel honored that somebody would reach out to me and lead their company, lead their business. I feel like it’s kind of a stepping stone, a little bit of pressure, but at the same time, what’s business without pressure, a little bit of resistance?
Without resistance, you don’t really grow stronger, right?
Right, so I feel like I’ve earned where I’m at and can give myself a little pat on the back.
When you’re at Forager, you seem excited to tell people about what’s going on, what’s on tap. This seems like a natural fit for you.
Right up my alley. I feel like the more, the merrier, when it comes to the people on the bus. But definitely, I feel like I can make sure everyone has a good time, just like I am.
You know about beer, you’ve worked at breweries here in Rochester, do you homebrew?
I actually brew at Forager, so I’ve got a little expertise in that. When I take my trips around the country, that’s for brewing beer. I was talking to Austin (Jevne, Forager co-owner,) about getting a homebrewing system, he was like, “James, why would you go home and brew when you can do it here?” And I was like, actually, that’s a great idea, because I don’t want that stuff in my house anyway. I might get carried away, open up a brewer in my backyard or something like that.
That sounds like a fantastic idea to me.
That’s a horrible idea!
Yeah, it’s a horrible idea — I’d never get no sleep!
Higgs’ Instagram profile is @passthehopps.