Welcome to the Quilting Board!
and I would love to do all the things you ask for....but...everything has a cost and there is only so much money and time to go around. I really just want to address the issue about honoring Joann's coupons. In general LQS carries a higher quality of fabric, so our cost per yard than more than what Joann's is paying. You get what you pay for. Second, Joann's and Walmart can purchase fabric by a shipping container full which is several thousands of yards, usually 3,000 to 6,000 yards at a time. So the cost of a single run of fabric is much cheaper because the set-up costs is only done once. Manufactures for the LQS typically print 500 yards at a time, so every 500 yards, there is a new set-up cost for a new run of a fabric. Lastly, Joann's usually marks up the costs higher than the LQS so they can discount it by a third and still get a 100% markup on cost. A LQS cannot give a 30% discount on the fabric they purchase because the markup is much smaller and the overhead of rent, utilities, healthcare, insurance, payroll and inventory doesn't decrease to match the reduction in income. Anyway that's my rant for the day. Come visit us at www.beautifulquiltfabric.com. Meredith
Last edited by merridancer; 01-28-2013 at 08:41 AM.
We are traveling in our motor home. The "current" LQS has one day a week dedicated to FREE SEW! No classes are scheduled on that day so folks can come in and sew in their classroom. Also one day a month-they open their classroom space to a local group of ladies who use that day to make beautiful quilts for the local nursing homes. Most of the fabric is donated by locals but I bet alot of these ladies use their own fabric too! I had the privlege to meet and sew with these gals several times (we were waiting for a motor home part!) This LQS also plans their classes 4 months in advance so you know exactly what is happening WHEN..... They have a huge variety of classes. AND the shop is beautiful.
Some quilt stores, especially in smaller towns, essentially become the local guild. There are classes scheduled, but when there are none anyone can use the table area, which for some of us is a god send. It really is like a club, but very inviting and very fun. The same could be done in a city also, but with registration to keep the numbers reasonable.
You have great ideas -- as an employee of a LQS, one of the things that helps us make it is CLASSES --- every Saturday there are classes, so many that now there are some on Fridays and other days of the week. And on Saturdays we also have Embrodiery Club where people share their projects and ideas. The classes increase skill levels of students, and also sell fabric for the projects also. We are only open from 9-6 -- therefore can run one shift of employees. In this community -- downtown goes completely quiet around 5:30. There are two other LQS nearby -- they both close at 5. We're the only shop open on Sundays.
We however cannot manage to separately order things from different suppliers -- we use a couple of suppliers and if they offer the individual items you suggest, chances are we'll get a small stock in to see if we can sell those -- we do listen to our customers and pass it on to the boss. However, keeping a store stocked is very time consuming, and takes away from the customer service we pride oursleves on. We want to help -- but sometimes our hands are tied.
We do sell machines -- and service them, and supply intro classes free when you buy a machine -- and you can take that class over and over again. We have our own certified repair service. We're pretty busy in this area. While there are a couple of independent machine dealers on the island, they don't have shops -- the only other machines for sale are at Walmart, Costco, Sears. So we do alot of business when someone wants a "serious" sewing machine. We see plenty of the less costly machines in classes however, and they do work fine...we service them too when they need it. We value every member of the sewing community, not only those with deep pockets. Your sales fabric is a SALE to us, and allows us to continue in business.
Part of the discussion on the closing of the LQS has been on the stash collectors feeling a little sorry that they are not supporting the LQS because of the cost of fabrics, and they are using their stocked fabrics. Remember -- you kept buying those fabrics for years from your LQS -- there was no or less internet stores to buy from -- so for years you kept those doors open. It is not your fault that the economy went bad and the prices went high. Alot of the price of fabric has to do with the cost of manufacturing and shipping -- and have to be laid at the front door of the oil companies. We've had to raise prices not because of the cost of fabric, but the cost of getting the fabric HERE where you can buy it....
All for now -- got to get ready for work....love the quilting community -- and this board! Thanks for letting me have a say....
I have worked in customer service for 22 years and one of the important things we did was to do a survey. We wanted to know what are customers liked or disliked or if there were any ideas. We made it so you could sign your name or not. It was a valuable tool. I know I had a lot of people to volunteer. I was in building management and did a lot of events for the building (3000 people) and you would be surprised to see how many people would volunteer. Just sayin' a quilt store might have a lot of people that would volunteer their time to teach, etc. I know it takes a lot of energy and needless to say money to run a business. But a survey might be helpful. One more thing, when I go into the LQ I do get overwhelmed with all the beautiful fabric and I am ready to buy, but I walk out with nothing, not saying that it’s the LQ fault, what is up with that? Also they do have samples but no longer have the fabric, so when I do get an idea from the samples it is a letdown.
I agree with having a lot of classes, but also keep in mind that there are those of us who would LOVE to take classes, but we have to work during the day. It's so frustrating to see a LQS offering a class that I REALLY want to take, but they only offer it during working hours. Most of them also close at 5:00 if they're not having classes, which means I can't possibly make it to shop after I get off work. I have to do all my running on the weekends, and by the time I'm done I'm so tired I don't even know what to get anymore!
Also, I'm big on notions. I love to check out new rulers and such, but it's been my experience that the Hancock Fabric stores here carry more notions than the quilt shops do. Great topic! :c)
"Some days it's just not worth it to chew through the leather straps."
I would be sure my store was wheel chair accessible and in compliance with federal law. You would be surprised at how many times I hunt down a quilt store when I am out of town and can not even get in the door. My LQS is not only wheel chair accessible but I can get EVERYWHERE between all the fabrics, etc. There are lots of people with disabilities who love to quilt and we have money to spend too!!!
<a href="http://www.mylivesignature.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://signatures.mylivesignature.com/54489/336/AFDCC36A59CDFF42A211209DA03F222E.png" style="border: 0 !important; background: transparent;"/></a>
Wow if all of you with these great ideas got together and opened a shop, just imagine.......