Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Independent Quilt Shops

If you are a store owner, please note that I admire what you do.  I've worked retail as a manager for a couple of years.  I know it's hard.  It's grueling.  The overhead costs are obscene.  Keeping track of everything means having 4 brains.  I know you don't make a huge profit over all your products and if you decide to carry a line of something, it's a huge risk.

You have to buy in bulk or meet minimum items for an order.  Shipping costs alone, even for me, the average shopper, is outrageous.  I paid 13 dollars for UPS shipping for a 12.50 thread case.  I ordered two just to make it worthwile.  DH spends a fortune in shipping for his books/blu-rays.  It makes you sick.  Running a small business shouldn't be this hard.  You are the ones that fuel our economy.

I know you can't cater my every desire and just to my needs alone.  What is frustrating to me is going into a local store down the block and having to leave because the owner doesn't carry a basic need. It's the same thing every time I go in and I get the same dirty look of "you aren't buying anything, leave now". I came to you first hoping you'd have it and now I have to "cheat" on you.

You get to the point where you don't bother and find another store that does 50-80 miles away.  Now that I can drive, I feel bad that can't support the two local stores in town a half mile away in either direction.

I know you can't compete prices with JoAnn Fabric and other chain stores.  By the time I drive 80 miles up to a JoAnn Fabric store or paid shipping from another site, I would have paid that much for the item.  I'd rather give that money to you upfront.

The hard part is knowing that I want the color pallette of the quilt shown for the Fiesta BOM and the two stores in town don't have them.  Once again, I have to scour the internet or drive 50+ miles to get those colors instead of supporting my two LQS.  And truthfully; I dont' think any of the stores that far don't carry those colors either.

It's also frustrating when I go to a website hoping to order a product and being told to shop your local independent quilt shop for this item but all the LQS in a 80 mile radius don't carry it.  I have to scour the internet for the product hoping another store does.

We need our independent quilt shops and we are loyal and faithful shoppers.  You fuel our addiction and  our lusts for fabric and other items.  You give us complete and instant gratification when we buy from you.  Please know you are needed and cherished.  I hate "cheating" on my LQS for something as simple as a decent pair of scissors, several packages of needles, pins, and some thread or in one case some basic brown flannel backing for my pug quilt.


onlymehere said...

I thought of your last post when I went to our local fabric shop today. I really like the fact that they know my name and can call me by it. They always want to know what new project I'm working on. I can't get that on the internet! I'm fortunate to have a really, really good store locally so I don't suffer like you do with having to travel very far for what I want.

SewCalGal said...

Good "Sew-Biz" post.


Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

I understand your feelings about independent shops. While I do love going to the quilt shop, the truth of the matter is that it's very difficult to compete today, you have to fight to stay afloat. The shops that are also dealers of long arms and sewing machines seem to do the best in this area. Even then they are one of those shops that they will sell you to death on things the moment you walk in the front least at Jo-Ann's they leave me alone long enough to decide on a purchase. I often feel pressure when I go into an indpenedent shop because I feel like their eyes are on me the entire time thinking "Buy it, buy it, buy it!" I suppose they have to be to make ends meet. They have a lot more at stake. I tend to go to Jo-Anns for things like batting and notions, I shop online for thread, and when I want "designer" fabric you'll find me in the quilt shop. At the end of the day I'm happy to support local businesses, but I have a family living on one income so I don't feel even the slightest guilt going to a chain store or trying to find the best price. That's part of what it's about in America and if a shop owner is ignorant of that when they go into business, they probably shouldn't have opened a shop in the first place. I know that sounds awfully ruthless, but that's just what it is in many cases. Not to mention some of the ladies in this area have egos out the wazoo making it even less pleasant to shop independent. Maybe we just haven't had the pleasure of having a GOOD shop in the area. ;)

Good luck finding your fabric!