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Thread: One Reason Local Quilt Shops do not have Booming Business

  1. #1
    Senior Member bob1414's Avatar
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    It sounds like this has happened to everyone - here's my latest experience. I was in one of our local quilt shops in Sioux Falls, SD this weekend. I specifically went to buy fabric to bind a quilt. I was not greeted upon entering although an employee was right there. After being in the shop for several minutes, nobody asked if I needed any assistance. I ended up spending less than $10 and if someone would have taken the time to see what I was interested in, I would have easily spent over $100!!! I routinely spend $100-$350 per month with online quilt shops even though I cannot see the fabric in person. This store could have had a much better day of sales if the employee(s) would have "bothered" to see if I needed assistance. Please, quilt shopw owners - if you see this, make the effort to assist customers!! I'm not just speaking for myself!

    I actually ran a quilt shop in this city for a friend of mine after she relocated and I would never have ignored customers this way. I don't know of any reason to be this way.

    Thanks for letting me vent - I feel like I'm in a 12 step meeting!!! :-)

  2. #2
    crawford1219's Avatar
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    I hate to hear that-I can honestly say that I have never received less than excellent service at any of my LQS and hate to hear that people have negative experiences.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure why so many shop owners and employees don't seem to get it. Maybe since they are usually single-owner or small shops, they don't get the kind of customer service training that the larger businesses provide for all their employees. I would think that if they open up a small business they are aware of the average failure rate for same and would do everything in their power to build and maintain a stable client base, but people never cease to amaze me!

  4. #4
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    I am fortunate to live in an area with more than 1-2 quilt shops with in a 10-15 mile radius. I did not like shop A, but fell in love with shop B because of the customer service.

  5. #5
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Luckily I live in an area with a lot of fabric stores. Hobby Lobby, Hancocks, Joanns and and at least 7 LQS within 45 minutes. All but 2 are extremely friendly and helpful. One of those two is sort of an "elitist" store the other the woman that runs it is just an airhead with no business sense. I tend to stay away from those as much as possible.

    If you're ever near Danville Illinois stop in at Threads of Time. I guarantee you'll hear, Good Morning/Afternoon, welcome to our store, is there anything we can help you with? the minute you walk in. You'll also be offered coffee and wonderful cookies. (not the prepackaged kind) If you want you'll be offered a tour of their retreat/conference center, an opportunity to stick a pin in the map to mark where you're from, and be told where the yarn room, pattern room, bargain shelves, etc are located. And it doesn't matter if the owners are there or not, the entire staff is does this. If this doesn't happen, pm me and I'll mail you a yard of fabric from my personal stash. That's how confident I am of their service.

  6. #6
    Senior Member genghis khan's Avatar
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    In my business wich is upholstery, im located within a fabric shop and when im not busy i try to be helpful to everyone and anyone regardless as to weather they are there to see me and discuss upholstery or not and i can tell you that goes along way with people for sure. :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Grama Lehr's Avatar
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    My LQS greats you, helps you and always asks if you found everything you need. They ask what you are making.......help you find fabric!

  8. #8
    community benefactor Conniequilts's Avatar
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    It is interesting, isn't it? These people need us and then serve us poorly.

  9. #9
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I stopped in my LQ last week and was greeted when I entered. I declined the offered help and went to look at fabric, thanking him and telling him I'd let him know when I needed fabric cut. I was the only one in the store and he was the only employee. Just as I was walking to the cutting table, a gentleman came in and said he wanted to purchase a sewing machine for his wife. My 3 bolts of fabric and I were suddenly invisible!! The employee actually turned his back to me and ushered the man to the wall of machines and started his sales pitch. I felt he should have shown the man where to start looking, cut my fabric, and then returned to him. I laid the fabric ON THE FLOOR and left--employee still never turned around.

  10. #10
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    My LQS always greets folks, then leaves you alone to brouse, which I like. When I've looked around and am ready for help, I go find someone and they are always gracious. The only time I've had an unpleasant experience was witnessing the manager correcting a mistake one of the other ladies had made concerning a gift card. I thought the discussion should have been taken to a private area.

  11. #11
    Super Member JudyG's Avatar
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    The local stores around me(all at least 45 minutes away) are great. But --- I was in Redmond, Oregon last week with my quilting group and we all went to a quilt store there and I was less than happy with them. I have a hard time picking out fabrics to go together and want to make a bargello that takes 20 different fabrics, 10 lights and 10 darks, and I want them all to be shades of blue. I have a good portion of them, but still needed a couple more. I asked the gal at the counter (there were, I believe, 4 employees working) if anyone there was good with color and could help me with selecting a couple more fabrics to go with what I already had. Her answer was, "No." Period. No offer to at least try to help me or anything. I was absolutely floored. One of my friends and I were selecting fabrics, and one of the gals did come over and give an opinion on the ones we were looking at, but I left that place less than enthusiastic about returning again.

  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Sounds like the vast majority of us posting so far have local shops that go out of their way to greet us smiling, ask if we need assistance and treat us with the utmost in courtesy and respect. The many shops in my area do just that as well and their businesses are booming. :) I have NEVER been ignored or treated rudely by a quilt shop employee anywhere at all.

  13. #13
    Super Member Mariah's Avatar
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    At a recent meeting of our local quilt guild, the speaker said we had better all get out and support our local shops, or they wouldn't be there much longer. I wanted to say that I had not had good experiences at our local shops, so why should I feel the need to support them? I didn't say that.
    At the next meeting, there were 3 shops from the surrounding area there"selling out." You could get great bargains!
    I personally buy most of mine online. There are some neat shops, and some send awesome swatches. Why bother to go out when you have this convenience. They also have awesome sales; 20-25% off.
    Business is business, and it is sad that the attitude in some of the small shops is what it is.
    Mariah.

  14. #14
    Super Member Janetlmt's Avatar
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    Roberta, I ran into the same situation in a LQS just last week. The two ladies spent the whole hour that I was there talking about their personal business.
    I owned a flower shop for 15 years and the shop policy was to great every single person when they came in. After a few minutes.. ask if they needed help.
    Needless to say..I won't be buying anything from my LQS.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bob1414's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janetlmt
    Roberta, I ran into the same situation in a LQS just last week. The two ladies spent the whole hour that I was there talking about their personal business.
    I owned a flower shop for 15 years and the shop policy was to great every single person when they came in. After a few minutes.. ask if they needed help.
    Needless to say..I won't be buying anything from my LQS.
    When they don't offer service, they are sealing their destiny, aren't they? It seems the only reason we would pay higher prices (higher than online) would be to have personal service....

  16. #16
    fliedermaus's Avatar
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    Reading through this I can see a big difference between England and the US. Over here shop owners/workers rarely greet you and if you want help you have to seek it out. In the few stores that I have been in that do greet you and actively help I find myself going back. It's a real treat.

    I guess we have the stiff upper lip/shyness/reservedness thing going on hahaha! :lol:

  17. #17
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    The people at ours are friendly. However, I had a few issues. When I first went there I noticed they had all country colors, reproduction prints, etc. Some 30's prints which I like but they aren't my favorite. I like the bright, colorful, clean prints. So I asked if they might get some of those in, ever, and she said no. No chance. They get the occasional jelly roll or layer cake of brighter lines but that's it-and I'd have to go elsewhere to find yardage to finish it.

    So I did buy a few books, jelly rolls and some thread there. When I went back to get more thread they were out of stock of the color I needed (white and off white). She told me that until they pay their bill, they can't order any more thread.

    So then they were selling a used machine for a customer who used to be the owner of a different shop. I seriously considered buying it but for only $100 more I was able to buy a new one so dh said to do that instead. Since this shop was not a seller of sewing machines I had to go to a different shop to get my new one. When I went to the shop next, she asked if I got my new machine (I had called and let them know my decision). I said yes and she started on how bad the shop was doing and how selling that used machine would help them out even though it isn't their machine-she said the owner was selling it to help out the store and her dh standing there said no, she was not-she was selling it because she had a stroke and couldn't lift it anymore. She said well anyway she was going to give us the $$ (which I don't believe-she told me if I bought it I could use my credit card and they would, in turn, give the $$ to the machine owner). I left feeling very guilty for some reason. Since then I have not been back. I'd be glad to go there to buy thread and patterns and books, at least, but they never get any new ones in.

    On my last visit I also asked again if they might be getting any of the colorful moda lines in and she said no, absolutely not. So even if I wanted to I couldn't find the fabrics I really like there.

  18. #18
    RMM
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    Would you show us your fabrics after you get all 20? I'm thinking of making a bargello w/blues also and would be interested in the colors that you found.
    Quote Originally Posted by JudyG
    The local stores around me(all at least 45 minutes away) are great. But --- I was in Redmond, Oregon last week with my quilting group and we all went to a quilt store there and I was less than happy with them. I have a hard time picking out fabrics to go together and want to make a bargello that takes 20 different fabrics, 10 lights and 10 darks, and I want them all to be shades of blue. I have a good portion of them, but still needed a couple more. I asked the gal at the counter (there were, I believe, 4 employees working) if anyone there was good with color and could help me with selecting a couple more fabrics to go with what I already had. Her answer was, "No." Period. No offer to at least try to help me or anything. I was absolutely floored. One of my friends and I were selecting fabrics, and one of the gals did come over and give an opinion on the ones we were looking at, but I left that place less than enthusiastic about returning again.

  19. #19
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaigai
    I'm not sure why so many shop owners and employees don't seem to get it. Maybe since they are usually single-owner or small shops, they don't get the kind of customer service training that the larger businesses provide for all their employees. I would think that if they open up a small business they are aware of the average failure rate for same and would do everything in their power to build and maintain a stable client base, but people never cease to amaze me!
    Where I am, there are WalMarts with fabric (don't get me started), JoAnns ( :roll: ), and a few LQS :thumbup: . I have NEVER been displeased with the tiny little LQS's nearby. They already know what the big chains try to push: good Customer Service keeps the customers coming back and buying more! The big chains try to get that going, but eventually someone with "more business sense" makes a rule that they have to sell-sell-sell at the expense of customer service.

    There is a sizeable LQS in the next town from me, only about 10 minutes away. I understand that the owner is considering selling out and closing. Too bad, that store has been a "destination point" for people from all over! The customer service really keeps me going back there, but when I can buy fabrics there for $9+/yd and get the same online for under $7/yd, guess where I am likely to spend my money? I do try to get in there at least once a month, but I just don't know how much longer they can hang on with the economy being what it is here in Michigan.

  20. #20
    Super Member pab58's Avatar
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    Gone are the days of the customer being first!!! :cry: When I worked at Minnesota Fabrics umpteen years ago, we always went out of our way to greet and converse with our customers!! It's one of the reasons why we had so many who would return time and time again!!!! Besides that, it made our job a lot more interesting and a lot more fun!!! I always loved to find out what they were making, etc.

    I have been in way too many LQSs that seem to ignore me. I almost feel invisible!!! I went into one quilt shop in Lansing, Michigan that I had always wanted to visit. The employees seemed to be so friendly to what I could only assume were "regular" customers. I was a brand new face to them, and I was completely ignored!!! If I remember correctly, I only purchased one or two items because I was treated so poorly, and I have never returned!! Get this: Lansing is over an hour from me!! That trip was special to me because I was so excited to finally have the chance to go there, but I will never return there again!!! :evil:

  21. #21
    Super Member dotcomdtcm's Avatar
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    Yes, I waited & waited & waited to buy threads , needles, etc at a small fabric store where I was conducting business. Finally walked out.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bob1414's Avatar
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    I hope quilt shop owners are reading this!!!!!!!!

  23. #23
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    Must say I have been very lucky in quilt shops. Assistants very, very helpful

  24. #24
    Super Member dotcomdtcm's Avatar
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    I have to add that the folks at City Quilter are great & it was fun to see them mentioned in one of the Elm Creek novels!
    Of course you have to come to NYC & visit me!

  25. #25
    Junior Member dottie's Avatar
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    It's a shame that employees are so inconsiderate. Went to a quilt shop in Georgia and has the same experience...noone paid any attention to me..
    Left without buying anything and will not go back...there is a quilt shop at the Foster's Flea Market that is open on weekends..they are super nice, have name brand fabric and the prices are 2/3 at least of normal quilt shop.
    Dottie

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