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Thread: LQS likes/dislikes?

  1. #1
    quiltedrunner's Avatar
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    I'm looking for some help from my fellow quilters... those that know best! :-D

    I am hoping to purchase a LQS, which will be pretty much turn-key, but not probably til closer to fall. However, would you share with me your personal likes and dislikes about any LQS? What draws you there? What turns you away?

    Children's play area?
    Coffee?
    Rude sales people? Yikes! (One of my personal turnoffs)
    Smells?
    Kits?
    Samples?
    Music?
    Sewing area?

    Just some ideas... please share your thoughts with me! Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Super Member CAROLJ's Avatar
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    Lack of help, snobby clerks. There are a couple of shops in my area where I feel like I'm doing them a favor by going in.
    I would like a teaching shop, where they had hands on tutorials.

  3. #3
    quiltedrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAROLJ
    Lack of help, snobby clerks. There are a couple of shops in my area where I feel like I'm doing them a favor by going in.
    I would like a teaching shop, where they had hands on tutorials.
    Like... just a short little tutorial midday or throughout the day?

  4. #4
    Super Member CAROLJ's Avatar
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    It would depend, I would like a class on something like a Twisted Log Cabin, which would run a couple of weekends. But I would also like a class on hand applique which would run an afternoon. I would take a class in how to make an organizer or a tote bag. The one LQS with the nasty clerks offer them, but they were so rude to me the one and only time I went in, I'll never go back.
    JoAnn's offers classes, I have never attended as it is taught by their staff, who aren't the best trained in short cuts.

    I've attended a couple of the quilting guild only meets once a month and the ones I have attended tend to be more of a "show and tell" format. I need to learn something from someone who is equal or supeerior ro my sewing skills.

  5. #5
    Super Member IrishNY's Avatar
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    I lilke lots of fabrics, lots of threads, lots of books and patterns. I really don't care about any of the rest of the things you mentioned. I come to shop and want as many choices as I can possibly have.

    I like shops that give me a coupon for something after I spend a certain amount of money. I also want the shop to keep a record of my purchases - every store in the universe (quilt and not) wants customers to carry a discount card. They make my purse heavy so I frequent stores that don't require it as much as possible. And make sure that the coupon is meaningful, especially since I travel for work a lot and can't make it to the sales most of the time. I went to store recently that said they give you $10 after you spend $250. That's 4% - big deal. $20 would have been less than 10% but I could still buy a couple of yards and that feels significant.

    I hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Super Member CAROLJ's Avatar
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    Also, many of the woman I know work and need the classes after work hours. I go on Sat, but my neighbor can't attend a class unless it is in the evening. Most classes tend to be during work hours. So a variety of hours would be wonderful.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Threadedneedle's Avatar
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    Music is fine but keep the volume down!

  8. #8
    Super Member luv-e's Avatar
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    There are alot of threads on here you need to read about how women feel. What would be good for one isn't necesarily good for someone else. Cover all your bases and make everyone happy, if you have the room. I have to admit the #1 is great sales clerk's.
    Best of luck in your new adventure.

  9. #9
    Super Member MistyMarie's Avatar
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    I just took a machine quilting class yesterday at my LQS and was so disappointed. I felt the class was misrepresented and a waste of my time and money. So, on that note, I would strongly recommend that if you do classes, you make sure your students don't feel like they have to purchase items for class that they don't end up using in class. I was told I had to have a book (didn't use it once) and that I needed basting spray (didn't use it once). So, I put out $25.00 on top of the $25.00 for the class and $16.95 for supplies (not counting the book) that I totally did not need to spend. The instructor spoke for over 2 hours of the 3 hour class and the "hands-on" part was pretty much on our own instead of with instructor support. The ONLY thing I got out of the WAY TO SIMPLE class was a comment she made about how they attach their quilt backings on their long-arm to the canvas leader. (Certainly NOT worth the time and money to get that tip!) Anyway, had the course description stated that the class was for those who had never attempted machine quilting, I would not have attended. I thought it was to help us learn techniques, not about what a walking foot was or how to lower feeddogs on the machine! I doubt I will take another class from the store after that one, especially if I knew the same lady was giving the class. She could have condensed her talk into a thirty-minute ORGANIZED lesson (she was VERY disorganized in her thinking and took a bunch of time talking about herself as a quilter that really didn't pertain to learning machine quilting) and then given us more practice time and more guidance, using the book as a resource.

  10. #10
    quiltedrunner's Avatar
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    You all are great!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Katia's Avatar
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    When I was visiting my sister in TX we went to a quilt shop in New Brunfels that was everything I could imagine in a perfect quilt store. There was the usual classroom and sale fabric area, lots and lots of patterns. Lots and lots of samples quilts and things made from the patterns they had. They had both modern fabrics as well as everything else, and the place was a kaleidoscope of color. But the best part was the staff. I picked up the bow tuck pattern and some focus fabric in the sale area for it, and the older gal told me all the ins and outs of making them. Then a younger gal came and helped me pick out fabrics for the rest of the bag. I could have spent all day there as well as a lot of money. It was so refreshing to be in a store that was friendly and helpful as well as up on all the newest things. It is a good thing I don't live in the area or I would spend a fortune there.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Katia's Avatar
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    oh, one more thing I look for in a quilt store. One simple thing. Inspiration!

  13. #13
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    1. Owner and Employees to be friendly and helpful.

    I was at a LQS (Local Quilt Store) last month and the owner and 2 employees never recognized anyone was in the store shopping, I was in the store for about 30 minutes and decided to leave as no one said hi, asked me if I need help or anything

    2. Have a sew day where you can take a project in and sew and if you have any ? someone is there to help you out

    3. demonstrations on rulers, etc.

    4. classes (so we can learn more) and offer the classes at different times, day, evenings, weekends

    5. Have an area to sit and relax if you need to

    6. Samples & Demonstrations

    Thanks again for starting this thread!

  14. #14
    Super Member mary quite contrary's Avatar
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    Set up a website. When I am going someplace I often check online to see if there are quilt shops on the way. There are some really cool shops that I will drive out of my way to go to.

    My LQS here has been very critical when I have gone in looking for suggestions. I realize I'm not the best quilter in the world. Rather than find fault with what I have done find some way to encourage me so I can be better next time. Sorry, you just received my rant for the day. Thank you. I'm done. lol

  15. #15
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    If you have quilts on display, the name of the quilt and where the pattern came from(book/ leaflet pattern). Try and make sure you have the pattern available, preferably near the display :thumbup:

    Staff that greets the customers , ask if they need help, then let them wonder about and don't follow them.

    Hands on demonstrations and advertise them :wink:

    Good Luck :lol:

  16. #16
    Super Member athenagwis's Avatar
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    I have to agree on the customer service thing. A LQS does not sell fabric IMO, it sells service, because unless you live in a town where there is no internet and no other place to buy fabric for 100 miles, most people will always find a cheaper place to buy what youíre selling. You have to have employees that realize this and can help you sell the best service possible. Whether itís right or not, teenagers wouldnít spend $100 for a pair of jeans at Abercrombie and Fitch if the sales people didnít fit the company's look and style. Although everyone has many opinions on what product, classes, etcÖ they would like to see in a LQS, I have heard on the boards that the single most reason a person stops shopping at a LQS is service is because of bad service. Not because they didnít have a certain book (Oh can we order that for you?), or a certain fabric (Well unfortunately we canít order that for you, but letís hop on this computer and find it online somewhere for you, then letís take a look at the coordinators I do have here for you to get today), or even because they donít have a class they want to take (That is a great idea for a class! We will look into finding a teacher for something like that.). Make sure you provide the best service, without smothering people and you will win in the long run.

    Now on to other things LOL I think you should see how you can incorporate technology into your store. Can you have a computer set up with all the stores fabrics imported into Electric Quilt 7 (or the simpler version Quilt Wizard), so someone can come in and design a quilt and buy the fabrics that day? (With help from a knowledgeable staff person of course) Or how about having a large computer screen set up in the store that rotates through flickr photos of quilts you have made for the store? People tend to shy away from technology when they own a small company, but we are a technological society, embrace it!

    Have night and weekend hours. A lot of the quilt stores around me close at 4:00 and donít open on Sunday. Not all of us are stay at home momís I would love to see a store that stays open till 7 or 8 and is open everyday of the week. Hire a competent staff that you can train to close for you and you can easily do this.

    I have a ton of other ideas, but I donít want to write a novel. Just think of all the things you wish you could have done when you walked into a LQS yourself. Yes it may cost a bit more up front, but it will pay more in the end.

    Rachel

  17. #17
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    My remarks are in bold.

    Quote Originally Posted by quiltedrunner
    I'm looking for some help from my fellow quilters... those that know best! :-D

    I am hoping to purchase a LQS, which will be pretty much turn-key, but not probably til closer to fall. However, would you share with me your personal likes and dislikes about any LQS? What draws you there? What turns you away?

    Children's play area? - Not a necessity but could be a nice diversion for the younger set, at the very least a good chair for the husbands
    Coffee? - No, I would think that there would be too much risk to the merchandise, and then you risk turning people off because you only serve a certain type, or it is stale, or you don't have tea... though one solution to that is a Keurig or other pod type machine. My favorite LQS is located next door to a local coffee/tea/wine shop so they don't have to worry about supplying beverages.
    Rude sales people? Yikes! (One of my personal turnoffs) - I think you know the answer to this already. Carefully training your staff to read people is helpful as well as helping them know when to back off and when to engage.
    Smells? - Definitely a huge turn off for me. I'm allergic to many scents, so a heavily scented store drives me out pretty quickly, I also don't want my purchases coming home perfumed. It goes without saying that smoking shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the fabric or the stock.
    Kits? - Potentially a great sales tool, however, many of the ones I see are not to my taste in terms of colors. I think an option to help a customer build a kit with their preferred color scheme would drive more sales.
    Samples? - Absolutely essential
    Music? - If any, keep it low and unobtrusive.
    Sewing area? - Very important if you are going to be offering classes or expanding to sewing machine sales. The area must be appropriately lit.

    Just some ideas... please share your thoughts with me! Thanks!!!
    Good luck and have fun!

    Cheers, K

  18. #18
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    #1 - friendly, knowledgable customer service

    also, I like to see a variety of fabrics, not just focusing on a particular style (for instance mainly 1930's & civil war); lots of threads, samples, patterns, gadgets.

    music - a variety would be nice. I get sleepy listening to some of the music one local shop plays.

    smells - I have allergies, so some smells, especially flowery or perfumy ones have me running for the door. If you must, keep it subtle.

    I'd love to see a place have some gadgets out that you can try before you buy. they do get expensive, and sometimes you end up with several that were a waste of money.

    Classes & Newsletters are nice.

    Evening/Weekend hours - I work full time. Where I shop depends on the time/day I can do so.

    Frequent shopper program!

  19. #19
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    Oh, lucky you, a quilt shop! I like a huge varity of stuff...modern, old, childrens, and LOTS of it!
    Smiling help, and some fun classes would be neat!

  20. #20
    Super Member Fiber Artist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharon b
    If you have quilts on display, the name of the quilt and where the pattern came from(book/ leaflet pattern). Try and make sure you have the pattern available, preferably near the display :thumbup:

    Staff that greets the customers , ask if they need help, then let them wonder about and don't follow them.

    Hands on demonstrations and advertise them :wink:

    Good Luck :lol:
    and they quilt also

  21. #21
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    people are helpful, and keep a couple of toys or coloring books for little kids and maybe a box of scrap fabric with kiddy scissors to help keep them occupied behind the counter or even in their own little corner near the counter. drinks are okay but not necessary. smells are okay but not too overwhelming. good knowledge able staff that will greet you and if they see you looking around like you are searching to "side up" to you and ask if you need some help finding something or picking a color. Also coupons coupons coupons and or great prices. Plus have a couple of machines in the shop that people can "borrow"/"rent" in shop to make tags or even quilt on. ie long arms or mid arms and embroydery machines. This could lead to people even purchasing machines from you. Plus having classes at lots of different times. You could also have a suggestion sheet for times and classes people would like to sign up for. You can also have demo days and times where you or one of your experienced staff will demonstrate a "new" technique for customers. This is always good to do with the quilts that are on display. show how the person made the block and stuff. And the most important part. Lots and Lots of colors of fabric. You might also want to talk with Bob1414 about maybe carring a line of her batiks if the area seems to like batiks. You just have to get to know your clientele. they are the ones that you have to cater too. You might also want to form a couple of classes that cater to moms/dads who sew. ie get two teachers and one sits with the little ones and teaches them about color and fabric and shapes and cutting while the parent gets to take a class on whatever. This would be the shop that I would shop at even if the fabric was extremely expensive. Might only get a yard or two at a time but would do my best to help support them.

  22. #22
    Super Member sweet's Avatar
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    Maybe coffee served in a little snack area.
    A comfy chair for the husbands who tag along.

  23. #23
    Marjpf's Avatar
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    I really like it when the cuts are an extra inch or so to account for shrinkage or squaring up. I also like when the rewards for shopping are all computerized. I don't like to have to carry a bunch or cards around. Many of the one's near me have also started to put your name in a drawing if you bring your own tote bag for carrying home your purchase. They drawings are usually for $25.00. I like to see inexpensive kits for quick projects, and new ideas. A kids play area is really nice.

  24. #24
    quiltedrunner's Avatar
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    I'm keeping my list! You all have some terrific ideas that I'm definitely going to try... Thx!!! :) Keep ideas coming! HUGS

  25. #25
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    Friendliness..everyone smiles and says hello. Helps if they know quilting. Inspiration areas. One place I go the have taken the flyers from fabric manufacturers and put on the walls in the bathroom with rubber cement so they can be changed, along with pattern ideas. We all have to make a trip to see the latest and we always have conversations concerning the new items. Samples, lots. They also stick a "tip" in each bag. 1/3 sheet of paper with the Tip of the day on it. Believe it or not after 35 years at this game some of those tips are the greatest time savers, who knew.

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