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Thread: Quilt shop is closing!! :(

  1. #1
    Senior Member jamh's Avatar
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    Our local wal mart is shutting down its fabric department!! It's so sad! And the next closest shop is 1 1/2 to 2 hours way. which is just to far to run for last minute project. So i was wondering if i opened a store in my town, where would i get the bolts of fabric, notions, all the good stuff! i haven't done any research yet, just wanted to say it out loud, get some feed back. You know? your ideas!

  2. #2
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    You would have to go Wholesale! Marshalldrygoods sells wholesale as well as retail. Do research before you invest!

  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Checkers distributers, United Notions, the Moda repesentative.

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    Yep, I'd contact wholesale distributors before jumping in with both feet..
    We recently had LQS close.. but this week... a new shop opened in the same location... Color me tickled!!! and she has a MUCH better selection.. she actually has some bright fabrics. and she was telling me some of her plans for the shop.. sounds WONDERFUL!!
    One bit of advice I'd offer.. it's nice to stock what you love.. but remember, not everyone is going to have your same taste.. that was one problem with the other shop.. only bought what SHE liked.... ICK!!!

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I wouldn't even consider opeing a store unless I had a hundred grand in the bank. 3/4 for inventory ans start up costs and the rest to keep the store running for 6 months or so.


  6. #6
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Hmm... that's a lot of dough, but of course you are probably correct. Wish our town had something better.

  7. #7
    lacikat's Avatar
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    Our Walmart eliminated fabric about a year ago, shortly after JoAnn's closed their local store so we have to travel at least 25 mile for a decent selection. We have one shop that carries only primitives and one that carries apparently what she likes. Neither has what I care to work with. But all the other Walmarts I've been to in Michigan still have fabric although I hear they are going to discontinue it. Oh well, now I have a lot less reasons to go there.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamh
    Our local wal mart is shutting down its fabric department!! It's so sad! And the next closest shop is 1 1/2 to 2 hours way. which is just to far to run for last minute project. So i was wondering if i opened a store in my town, where would i get the bolts of fabric, notions, all the good stuff! i haven't done any research yet, just wanted to say it out loud, get some feed back. You know? your ideas!
    If you are serious, then here's some suggestions I'd suggest...
    *Check out library books on business, espec quilt business
    *Find a way to keep your store fees of rent, etc as low cost as possible
    *File for not only a tax number but make sure to be a LLC (then you become a wholesaler on shows....all you have to do is inquire)
    *You can start up w/a very least amount...for real!! Start w/essentials of basics...have yourself involved already while you prep in quilt groups...they will follow you:)Offer basic classes...and, even a tea time for all stitchers to come in and work on their projects for free....who wouldn't want to take a break and shop!:)Know that not all shops were loaded w/much money when they started...!
    Those are the very basics...have a game/business plan of what you want...where you want to go, etc. What kind of quilt store do you want everyone to describe?? Most of all....Best of Luck!! Determination is what we are all about;)Skeat

  9. #9
    Senior Member jamh's Avatar
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    thanks for the great ideas! im talking to the SBA yo see if they can help

  10. #10
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Something else to think about--if you are running a business, will you have time to enjoy making your own quilts?

  11. #11
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Not only did I do tax returns for one store I actually tried to buy another store.

    At the time she was the only quilt store for several miles. She worked another job and paid two part time employees to work in the shop. Her *profit* for the year I tried to buy the shop was a little over 6 thousand. Yeah, about 500 bucks a month. But that was over 10 years ago when costs weren't as high. Plus she sold machines and needlework supplies.

    I have looked into starting a store from scratch too. Inventory is expensive. Not to mention store fixtures.

    Plus, keep in mind you'll have the entire internet as competition now not to mention JoAnn's and Walmart. Walmart and JoAnn's might be able to sell fabric for less than wholesale but a single proprieter store can't.

    Just reading this board gives you a real good idea of how many people hold some kind of grudge against the LQS selling fabric at a price that keeps them in business. Everybody's looking for cheap fabric, the cheaper the better. Very few people seem to think 9 to 10 bucks a yard is a fair price for LQS fabric.

  12. #12
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    See if you can get some type of grant to open a small business. That might help with some of the cost. My ubby always use to say I could open my own store with all the craft stuff I have. lol
    I wish you the best of luck in your endever. I hope you make it happen.
    Maybe talk with some small quilt owners and get their ideas on some things.
    Good Luck
    Bev

  13. #13
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    I lived in a town that didn't have a fabric shop, or a WalMart. There was a gal who sold fabric out of her garage. She had set hours, though if there was an emergency & she was home she was always "open." She seemed to do quite well and because it was out of her home she saved a ton of money on overhead. Would something like this work for you?

    I would LOVE to open a fabric store!!! I can picture having "Open Sewing" days, classes for all sorts of quilting levels, a back room that is big enough for my guild to meet in, and a small building off to the side that would house historical quilts and where ladies could put on quilt shows. It would be a sort of museum & art gallery. Unfortunately there are a plethera of fabric stores here in Idaho Falls and another one would be redundant. And since I don't see myself moving anytime soon, I guess I'll just have to enjoy all the shops in the area instead. :wink:

  14. #14
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    If its something you REALLY want to do then go for it. Don't just do it so you can have a closer place to buy fabric. My philosophy is to never get into anything that's going to either take up a lot of time or a lot of money (or both) unless your heart's in it 100%.

  15. #15

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    Contact other successful quilt shop owners and talk with them first. Do all your due diligence homework. Take a class from somewhere on starting a small business. Contact someone from a SCORE organization who offers advice and experience in doing this. All the replies in this thread contain valuable information to heed. One thing I have heard is that a small quilt shop cannot survive without offering classes from either local or nationally known teachers. You also must have a website and offer to sell your products on-line. Have a club membership that offers a 15% discount on all purchases and 20% on quarterly club night/day sales for a membership price of say $35 per year. Or offer a free $50 gift card with a $250 cumulative purchase in a certain time period. Go to "market" and purchase the latest fabrics, but keep a nice supply of the tried and true staples. Possibly take several people to market so that you don't end up with just what you like. Make sure to have a full color spectrum. Sell books, patterns, notions, etc. Maybe offer a quilting book club as well. Such as bring in books for discounts on other books to purchase... Find out how many quilters there are within a 20 mile radius and determine how much business could be generated from these customers. Fabric at Walmart was not the same grade of fabric sold in a specialty quilt shop. The fabric in quilt shops generally run between $9 and $12 per yard. There definitely is a difference between the fabrics offered in a quilt shop vs those sold at Walmart. Quilt shop fabric is far superior. Offer pajama parties, sew-inn, retreats, etc... It takes a big variety of activities to attract a lot of customers. Most of all, once you have customers, keep them coming back. Give them a certificate for a free fat quarter on their next visit...offer a drawing for a free something once a quarter...offer a drawing for going green (bring your own bag) Treat customers :D as if you treasure each one of them the most. Give them your undivided attention and offer as much assistance as each one wants. But, most of all, be willing to sacrifice your time, energy, money, family life, etc because running a business will become a 24/7 job with no downtime. You must want it more than anything else .... one more idea: search for and apply for a grant --there are some out there just waiting to be given. Maybe you can get some of the stimulus money to do a startup. 8)

  16. #16
    Senior Member Bluphrog's Avatar
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    Pam has so many good points, but I'll add one more. Plan to be open when your customers can shop. We have 2 LQSs in my area, but one is not open late on weeknights and the other one only stays open late on Thursdays, both close early on Saturdays, and neither is open on Sundays. I have to plan ahead of time to make it to one or the other on a Saturday. So if your customers are women who work outside the home, and especially if they have to commute to their jobs, plan to stay open extra hours for them.

  17. #17
    Sassy Sally's Avatar
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    A friend of mine opened a quilt/machine quilting shop abou 1-1/2 years ago. Our town only has 2200 people. All other quilt shops are at least 1 hour away. Our Wal-Mart no longer sells fabric. Besides handling Moda, she buys, wholesale, many fabrics from Marshall's Dry Goods in Batesville, AR. (about 1 hour from us). Their wholesale department was very helpful to her when she started up. They do have several well-known lines; however, most is some that they produce. It is nice material that she normally sells for about $4.99/yard. They do have a retail shop but the fabric is not as nice as that in the wholesale department. Good luck on your venture.

  18. #18
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Jamh - if this is your dream, go for it! Sounds like you have a lot of good advice from some who know about business. :D

    Bluphrog - sounds like you live in my area. It can be frustrating to need something, and find the stores closed before I can get there. :-(

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bluphrog's Avatar
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    QuiltMom, Nope, I live north of Houston and work downtown. I ride a bus everyday (I'm not crazy enough to drive it!) and don't get back to the bus lot until 5:45 p.m. or later. And of course, the LQS closes at 5:30. I'm sure there are many of us who can tell the same story.

  20. #20
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluphrog
    QuiltMom, Nope, I live north of Houston and work downtown. I ride a bus everyday (I'm not crazy enough to drive it!) and don't get back to the bus lot until 5:45 p.m. or later. And of course, the LQS closes at 5:30. I'm sure there are many of us who can tell the same story.

    What hours should a quilt shop be open?

    Be specific.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bluphrog's Avatar
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    When the new LQS opened (about 3 years ago), I asked the ladies if they could stay open ;ater a couple nights a week. I said if they opened at noon on those days, they could stay open until 8 p.m. rather than being open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their argument was that they had families (read husbands) that wanted them home at a reasonable hour in the evenings. I told them that I understood their reasoning, but if they were going to service their commuting customers, they needed to be open when we could come to the shop. Well, after 2-1/2 years, they have finally started staying open later on Thursday nights. They usually have a class scheduled for women who cannot take a daytime class.

    I respect the fact that neither of the LQSs stay open on Sunday. That is a day set aside for worship and family. Hobby Lobby and Chik-Fil-A both also do not open on Sunday.

  22. #22
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    *File for not only a tax number but make sure to be a LLC (then you become a wholesaler on shows....all you have to do is inquire)
    The reason for the Limited license corporation (LLC) is to protect your assets and everything you own so if you get sued they cant take you to the cleaners.

    Figure in at least 30K to start up a business and have enough money on hand to be able to run the business for a year without any income coming in. It would be best if you could run it out of a room in your house then you can deduct that from your taxes along with the new computer, sewing machines, cell phone, partial of your utilities, etc to be able to run the business.

    You also have to pay yourself a salary and if you use a room in your home you can pay yourself for the use of the room. And if you offer delivery or go to shows you can either lease your car to the business or buy another one for it and that would be another deduction along with mileage.

    Also make sure you find yourself a good accountant and a tax attorney!!!

    Billy

  23. #23
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    All great advice, and starting from home may well be the way to go. I have spent many years managing and working with small business owners, those who fared the best, put in the hours 24/7, live, eat, breath "the business". The ones who couldn't commit...well, some of them are no longer trading, and some separated and went back to working for someone else. It's a hard road, it can be done, but research, research, research!

  24. #24

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    Yep Elizabeth, that is an excellent point. I have the same trouble since I work and my LQS is open 10-5 daily and Saturday...My only hope would be to get there at lunch on a weekday since I also work 8-5. :-)

  25. #25
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    Another one bites the dust. I keep hearing of all these WalMarts closing their fabric departments, but my local Super WalMart has added fat quarters lately and still has a small but decent fabric selection. The fat quarters are really cute. I've used some of them as backing for my monogrammed baby burp cloths.

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