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Thread: Quilt Shops Closing

  1. #1
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    Quilt Shops Closing

    I live near St. Louis, Missouri. Since the beginning of the year I know of five quilt shops that are either in the process of closing or just closed. That is just here in my area. Has anyone else noticed this happening in other areas? Plus, we lost one shop last April. Just wondering what is happening nationwide in the quilting industry.

  2. #2
    Super Member kateyb's Avatar
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    We've had one here that downsized. The owners just wanted to have more personal time. There is a new one opened in the last year in another town close by.

  3. #3
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Yes I have noticed this in my area. Just received notice that another is closing here in my area. So sad!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    Super Member Murphy1's Avatar
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    Just received notice that Shared Stitches in Cameron Park is closing. I am so sorry - very nice ladies.
    Murphy1
    For our wonderful Golden Retriever adopted in March of 2010.

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quilt shops come and go. Since I started quilting 14 years ago there have been 14 shops in this area. 6 of them opened and closed. 8 of them opened and are still open. The reasons they close are as individual as the shops (retirement, burnout, life changes, etc) but one of the biggest reasons they don't just change hands is it's extremely expensive to buy a going quilt shop. If you are going to open a quilt shop it's cheaper to start from scratch. Several of the shops that closed around here tried to sell the shop but nobody had the kind of money it would have taken to just buy the shops.

  6. #6
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    We've lost 2 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. There has been one that has opened, so at least we do have one here plus a Hancocks. Omaha, Nebraska is just across the Missouri River, so we have a lot of choices there.
    Aronel aka Lee

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    The other thing to consider ... online purchasing has detrimental effects to a LQS business and its survival.

    I do most of my fabric purchases IRL ... though I will admit I seldom purchase a pattern any longer.
    Either use from my pattern stash or the wonders of the many free patterns online or my own creativity.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member skowron5's Avatar
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    I live in where we have 2 that are going strong. Another just opened. I went to check it out the other day. They had not advertised I just heard about it. I got there at 10:30. They didn't open until 11:00. I looked in the window and didn't see much. I think they will have to have better hours. The area I live in is small and there are no Joann's or Hobby Lobby's within 45 miles. We have a Walmart, but the last couple of times I have been in there I think their fabric is getting bad. I try to shop both LQS so they stay in business.

  9. #9
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Town I am in now is to small for a quilt shop to probably make any money. But I just moved up here from INland Empire of SO CA...big yuppy/middle class kind of location...Starbucks on every corner and a shopping mall on every intersection kind of place..and not a single quilt shop there! JOann's and Michaels is all!
    But I am not really surprised to hear them closing...I see online the fabrics are $10 a yard and more! If you quilt alot for personal hobby...unless you are making big bucks on your job..who can afford $10 a yard? I know I can't! I look online and there are tons of fabrics...I was just "eyeball shopping" this morning...WONDERFUL fabrics, but for $10 a yard or more, it is just window shopping for me. I can't afford that. I was wondering why places like Joann's doesn't carry more of the wonderful prints like you can get online, but I guess store space is the issue but still....I think it is the price. Odds are if it is $10 a yard online it is probably $12 or more in a store. And i just think people can't afford to spend that much for fabric. Maybe a little here and there or for aspeciality quilt or something like that, but just for every quilt you make...it is just to expensive. I don't understand why it is so expensive...I know quality and all that, but still...if is isn't selling at $10 a yard...why not lower the price and keep your out sourcings open?

  10. #10
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skowron5 View Post
    I live in where we have 2 that are going strong. Another just opened. I went to check it out the other day. They had not advertised I just heard about it. I got there at 10:30. They didn't open until 11:00. I looked in the window and didn't see much. I think they will have to have better hours. The area I live in is small and there are no Joann's or Hobby Lobby's within 45 miles. We have a Walmart, but the last couple of times I have been in there I think their fabric is getting bad. I try to shop both LQS so they stay in business.
    It's kind of like scrapbooking stores...back 5 years ago for about the 5 prior to that...SB stores all over the place, but I looked and again...really expensive stuff in there! I'd go an look for ideas etc, but seldom bought to much. Just couldnt afford it. Then Joann's nad Michael's put in SB departments and things were alot cheaper (now...REALLY cheap!) and the SB stores started closing. I don't know of a single one anymore and there were quite a few around 5 years ago.

  11. #11
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    Quilts shops will come and go like Scissor Queen states. Many small businesses fail to thrive for various reasons, some not even making it through the first year. They don't plan to fail, they just fail to plan. It is hard as the quilt shop owners who didn't have a solid business plan going in just survive and limp along until they go out of business. They have to pay rent, teachers, maybe employees, utilities,insurances, invoices from all the various suppliers, repairs to the machines they keep in the store, and of course, they are holding all that inventory until someone buys it. Just like with our quilted items, the "stuff" that is in a quilt shop may not appeal to every potentional quilt shop buyer at the "price" the owner/seller thinks she/he should get. With the economy being the way it is, many folks are finding ways to save money by looking for discounts, shopping from stash, and using clothing for quilts. I have seen posts here about what makes a great quilt shop but the problem is - do they have the cash flow to put all these great ideas into place? It is sad.

  12. #12
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    As time goes on, I think we’ll see more and more Quilt Shops closing.

    One of the newest and fastest growing reasons is called “Showrooming”, in which shoppers look at merchandise in stores, but buy online at lower prices. Sometimes they’ll do it on their Smart Phone right there in the retail shop to make sure that they get the correct pattern number. Even if a shop has a lot of foot traffic, sales are declining. It’s not just the fabric shops that are seeing an increase in showrooming. It’s becoming a major problem in most retail shops that sell merchandise that is also for sale online.

    While both types of businesses might hire staff, pay rent, pay for electricity, and pay for telephone service, the costs are usually higher for a retail outlet than for a warehouse operation. The brick & mortar shops usually have to pay much more for building maintenance, store fixtures, and real estate taxes, due to their location and public access. Online-only shops usually have very low overhead.

    Shop Owners see the problem, and many are getting out of the retail business because of it. Some retire, some relocate their inventory to a cheaper facility and change their business to online-only, and others simply go into another line of work. Who can afford to put up with all of the cost just to be a showroom for someone else?

    I think that the brick and mortar retail shops have probably outlived their usefulness.

    CD in Oklahoma
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  13. #13
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    My favorite local quilt shop hasn't bought any new fabric for ages. I was bold and asked her if she was planning on going out of business. She said no, but I don't think that is true. I don't think she wants to, but I think everyone is shopping online nowadays. I asked her why she didn't put her business back online and she said it cost $2,800 just for the initial cost to get her online business going. I think she should do it. I really do.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    My favorite local quilt shop hasn't bought any new fabric for ages. I was bold and asked her if she was planning on going out of business. She said no, but I don't think that is true. I don't think she wants to, but I think everyone is shopping online nowadays. I asked her why she didn't put her business back online and she said it cost $2,800 just for the initial cost to get her online business going. I think she should do it. I really do.
    Most likely, she is "hoping" that things will work out and not have to go out of business. I too have been in a shop with old fabric- those I can get on Craigslist postings- and wonder how they stay in business. I have spoken with four owners whose shops are struggling, up for sale or went out of business. One of them sold her half to the co-owner for less than her original investment because she and her husband were always arguing about the "shop". None of the rest of them have a plan for a retirement date, a list of potential buyers or want to accept that they are operating on a month to month basis. My DGM had a saying, "If your outgo is bigger than your income, it is your upkeep that is YOUR DOWNFALL!" The few stores that will survive are owned by folks who understand "business". Businesses are supposed to be profitable, period. So if they aren't making a profit, then they will eventually go out of business.
    Last edited by AUQuilter; 02-03-2013 at 12:35 PM.

  15. #15
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    Everone has made a valid statement. We can all look at the shop owners choices and find fault, or the location, or the stock on hand or price. Their is so much that factors in I think. But as non shop owners, if we like our LQS at all, and we don't want to see them close, we need to accept some responsibility for stores closing. Shopping on line is a biggie for sure. I know sometimes the price is cheaper, but with shipping included, maybe not as great a savings as we first thought. Most of the Quilt Shops I frequent offer me sooo much more than fabric. You walk in the door and you are home again. Surrounded by fabric, friends and ideas. Sure you can see the fabric on line or in a catalog . Not the same as touching it, feeling piece by piece just how wounderful that next quilt is going to feel.

    Most Quilt Shop owners heart and soul are invested in that shop, I know each time I walk through those doors.....my heart and soul will be fed as well.

    If we love'em we've got to support'em. Just saying, IMHO.

  16. #16
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    Our Qs closed here about a year ago. It had been in business 42 years. She closed the brick and mortar store and moved all her inventory out to her farm, and has an on line business only now. Buying on line is convenient and sometimes you get really good prices, but I prefer to shop in store. I like to see and feel the fabric, plus I love the atmosphere of most shops. That shop was also a gathering place for us, classes, all day sew ins, etc.I really miss it and all the friends I made there over the years.

  17. #17
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    Well, we did loose all those Scrapbook stores several years ago. There use to be a lot of those around here too.

  18. #18
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    I rarely buy online. I love to feel the fabric, see the true colors, and put fabrics together. I make scrappy quilts and just lining up my selected fabrics gives me an incredible thrill. I would not get that buying online. I know I spend more buying from my LQS, but this is my only extravagance.
    Hand quilting preserves my sanity.

  19. #19
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    I believe there's two reasons for it. The first reason is the economy. People are still purchasing fabric, but not in the quantity that they used to. The second reason is online shopping. There's so many more fabric stores to shop in without having to use the time to go to the store, use the gas (especially use the gas), and many of those sites have free shipping if you buy over a certain amount or a lowered shipping.

  20. #20
    Member kookey426's Avatar
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    coffeebreak,I think you hit the nail on the head! Most people do not have the disposable income to afford $12 or more per yard on an everyday project.I know a lot of ladies that sew quilts,baby clothes,etc,for charity,and you have to keep the prices down.In this economy there is alot of upheaval when it comes to businesses,and you have to really be prepared and have a great business plan and CUSTOMER SERVICE to outlast the enormous competition!

  21. #21
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I was working at a LQS this winter for a few days.....I couldn't believe how many people came in and told us the quilt shops in their area had closed. Southern Oregon has lost a lot of shops!!!! I don't know about the northern part of Oregon. According to one woman, 5 shops in the Klamath Falls area has closed in the the last 5 yrs. and another told me the sw coast is down to 1 shop!!!!
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  22. #22
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    As with just about everything the internet has had a negative impact on your LQS. Many of us dont have the pleasure of a local quilt shop so we shop online. I am guilty of online shopping because I have to. I would love to be able to see touch and feel my fabrics before I buy but I dont have that option. Wish I did.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  23. #23
    Super Member TexasGurl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeebreak View Post
    It's kind of like scrapbooking stores...back 5 years ago for about the 5 prior to that...SB stores all over the place, but I looked and again...really expensive stuff in there! I'd go an look for ideas etc, but seldom bought to much. Just couldnt afford it. Then Joann's nad Michael's put in SB departments and things were alot cheaper (now...REALLY cheap!) and the SB stores started closing. I don't know of a single one anymore and there were quite a few around 5 years ago.
    We had 3 nice SB stores here 5-10 yrs ago, and all 3 are closed now ...last one closed about 2 yrs ago.
    But one difference I've noticed, out of at least 10 friends who were BIGTIME scrappers then, only 2 are STILL scrapping, and even those 2 aren't doing much anymore. That's a big part of the reason I'm sure ... how MANY scrapbooks can one person make - or need ?? Seems to be a much higher dropout rate than with quilters. That combined with sales lost to chain retailers and online did the local shops in ...
    Last edited by TexasGurl; 02-04-2013 at 08:28 AM.

  24. #24
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    When members post pictures of their quilt rooms at home & I see the huge stashes that they have, I think WOW no wonder so many shops are closing. These people purchased huge amounts of fabrics in the past, and the stores probably based their inventory on the sales staying level or increasing. Now people are looking to use up their stash & only pop into the quilt shop for thread or one or two small pieces that are needed to coordinate with their stash at home. Just another thought.... and yes our little shops have closed in town but we still have one about 3/4 hour away.

  25. #25
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    The only quilt shop in my area closed 1 month after I moved here from ILL!!! Now I wait until I can get to the BIG city every 6 weeks or shop by catalog or on line. Big city is 125 miles away so it's an all day affair when we go. I'm thankful for all the shop suggestions I get from the board and it's so much fun "looking".
    Kathy Osterby

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