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Thread: Stock the quilt store....ideas welcome!

  1. #1
    Senior Member cedarvalleyquilts's Avatar
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    While I know what I'd like to see in my quilt store, I thought I'd ask everyone here. What do you like to see in a quilt store? I've been reading the posts about the "dream store" and have decided I will have a clearance section and do discounts, will do some type of customer appreciation discount (whether punch card or whatnot). There will be antique sewing machine service/repair offered. There will be a Fun Quilter for rent in the store so customers can finish their projects if they so desire. There will be classes offered. And, of course, high quality fabric and notions.

    I want to have as wide a variety of fabrics/notions/threads as possible to appeal to as many tastes as possible. I know what my preferences are, but what are yours? Particular designers you love/hate? Certain notions that you wish your LQS would stock but doesn't? Fabric lines/threads/notions that are a "must have?" What types of patterns/books/magazines do you like to look for in a shop?

    Everyone has different tastes and preferences, but what have you wished that your local shop carried but doesn't? I want to make my shop as customer-driven as possible, both in customer service and the inventory I have.

    Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated...thanks in advance for the input!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Lots and Lots of samples on the walls and all over the place so we can see what a pattern looks like all made up.
    And on the sample, the name of the pattern and where to find it. Maybe also the fabric line used to make it.

  3. #3
    Super Member Sandee's Avatar
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    Large selection of threads. Varigated, embroidery thread for the tread painter people, metalics, variety of priced fabric if you can for those who can'r afford $10/yard. Maybe some free patterns for beginners that you can just print off the internet & have on hand, then rotate every few months. Maybe people would feel they were geting a little something extra.

  4. #4
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    Oh, well while we are dreaming- What about a Accucut studio with lots of dies? You could rent time to people who buy fabric at one rate and a little bit more for people who want to use their stash from home.

    A charity corner where people could make up a block for charity quilts while they are shopping... and leave it at the store of course.

  5. #5
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    This might seem a bit wired but enough room between the isles to get a stroller around. I have a small one for my son and it is a real pain trying to push him around and carry fabric. And make sure my rd isn't getting into what she shouldn't and not pulling the fq off the shelf because she wants them. As for fabrics I would suggest lots of basics in all the colors and not just a handful. I really like the ones that are almost tonals they help me give depth to all my quilts. I also love Clarence and sales. I would also suggest a few tables in each area or section for people to play with different combos. I like to lay my fabric out and see it all together. Lots of samples are wonderful, but make sure that you have at least two for every type of fabric that you carry. You know floral batik vintage juvi. Things like that. I would say that you should also listen to the locals. Maybe have a couple of order books for your locals to loom threw and see what is up and coming and have paper and a box for fabric suggestions as to what hey would like to see. But that is me. Where in Iowa will you be? I might have to have a stop up there.

  6. #6
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    Maybe periodically have a special topic for quilts-like music and have a lot of fabrics that are music related; science and have a lot of fabrics science related; bugs-etc...

    I've been looking for science themed fabrics for the last few years and buy it when ever I find something apropriate. even full price!

  7. #7
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    Something I don't see very often in quilt shops is a place to set down your bolts of fabric as you're making your choices so you can see how all your selections look together. Those bolts get heavy and having just a few spots around the shop to set them down and be able to see how the colors/patterns/etc. play off of each other would be wonderful! :-D

    In my LQS, the only place to do this is on the cutting table. So if they're busy, you're out of luck.

  8. #8
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    I second the idea of places to put the bolts down so you can look at them. You could always have tables with shelves built under them and over them so that you aren't wasting too much floor space with the tables. I would also like to see a good selection of different kinds of rulers and other notions. Many windows with good natural light. So many quilt shops have poor lighting that it is very difficult to really see the fabrics well. One other idea that I liked was one shop had a special area where all the odds and ends of fabric and cut up leftovers from cutting fabric for quilts were in a huge box--you could take a bag and fill it up with as much stuff as the bag could hold for a standard price. This is great when you need just a little of something for applique or scrappy quilts.

  9. #9
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    My preference would be a store that is very well lit with a great lighting system. It would be fabulous if you could have the true color lights (such as the ott lights) for customers to use at least in 1 area.... if not all over the store.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cedarvalleyquilts's Avatar
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    These are all terrific ideas....keep them coming :)

  11. #11
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    If you have a JoAnn's or Hancock's in your area I wouldn't bother with cheap fabric or standard rulers. People will tell you that's what they want and the turn around and go buy it at JoAnn's. I would stock specialty rulers, specialty machine needles, and top quality threads.

  12. #12
    Super Member mimom's Avatar
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    free coffee, I'm there long enough to enjoy a cup. lol
    my LQS has a large rustic looking table in the middle of the store with chairs all around, you can go there and just sit down with the owner or one of the workers and just talk about anything. Love them guys. Tomorrows Treasures Quilt Shop in New Baltimore, MI

  13. #13
    Super Member sweet's Avatar
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    I just love it when I go to a store and they have a collection of every (or at least 1 colorway) fabric in the collection of "adorable/can't live without" fabrics.

    I like to be able to find a decent selection of 108" fabrics and be able to buy batting bty.

    I love the square carts that my LQS has to use to match up fabrics.

    I really like to be inspired! Show me!

    When I walk into the store, I love to see the current season of fabric displayed.

  14. #14
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Patterns from local designers. Lots of samples on the wall, and PLEASE don't put up ones that haven't been quilted yet. I know it's easier to make and store tops, but I want to see actual quilts. I'm a value shopper - don't care if it's this season's fabric or not, if the price is good. A place for the DH to sit so he can wait PATIENTLY is always nice. Good lighting is a must. If there's room, small shopping carts are nice and might encourage people to buy more.

    You will have a wonderful store, because you are already attuned to the customer's wishes.

  15. #15
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I love the idea of a quilt day to finish projects, get help etc for a nominal fee.
    It's always fun and helpful!

  16. #16
    grugirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cedarvalleyquilts
    While I know what I'd like to see in my quilt store, I thought I'd ask everyone here. What do you like to see in a quilt store? I've been reading the posts about the "dream store" and have decided I will have a clearance section and do discounts, will do some type of customer appreciation discount (whether punch card or whatnot). There will be antique sewing machine service/repair offered. There will be a Fun Quilter for rent in the store so customers can finish their projects if they so desire. There will be classes offered. And, of course, high quality fabric and notions.

    I want to have as wide a variety of fabrics/notions/threads as possible to appeal to as many tastes as possible. I know what my preferences are, but what are yours? Particular designers you love/hate? Certain notions that you wish your LQS would stock but doesn't? Fabric lines/threads/notions that are a "must have?" What types of patterns/books/magazines do you like to look for in a shop?

    Everyone has different tastes and preferences, but what have you wished that your local shop carried but doesn't? I want to make my shop as customer-driven as possible, both in customer service and the inventory I have.

    Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated...thanks in advance for the input!

    Chris
    Moving fabric along all the time. Have a sale rack for sure. I have a good habit of heading directly to the sale rack when I arrive in a LQS.
    Makes all the difference that they are willing to keep stock moving. I hate that I went to 2 shops recently and they don't them? huh?
    Stale stock too. Quilter's want lots of choices and new fabrics. If you go to the LQS and it is not be rotated and moved, we get bored and go elsewhere.

  17. #17
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Great Lighting. One of the LQS by me has the worst lighting. In order to really see the fabric true colors you have to go outside ( that hoping its good weather) , or right by the door.
    I once went to a really need shop that had fabric and pie , now that was a great combination. It was half fabric half pie shop. They had great pie and great fabric.

  18. #18
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
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    DITTO Jim's idea about the pattern -- and lots of color ideas for the pattern. Light colored fabrics which seem to be slim pickings sometimes. Solids to go with your florals and/or patterned fabrics. 108" wide backings in a variety of basic colors. Oh my, I could go on and on. Wish I lived in Iowa so I could see the shop!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim's Gem
    Lots and Lots of samples on the walls and all over the place so we can see what a pattern looks like all made up.
    And on the sample, the name of the pattern and where to find it. Maybe also the fabric line used to make it.

  19. #19
    grugirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S
    Great Lighting. One of the LQS by me has the worst lighting. In order to really see the fabric true colors you have to go outside ( that hoping its good weather) , or right by the door.
    I once went to a really need shop that had fabric and pie , now that was a great combination. It was half fabric half pie shop. They had great pie and great fabric.
    oh... I have to agree with this one. We have a fantastic quilt shop in an old church called Parkland Parish quilts. ... I hate shopping there though. Their lighting is absolutely horrible and it makes for a boring and eyestraining shop. In fact, I almost never shop there because of it.

    I would also like to add that my eyesight is not so wonderful either and as I have experienced many of us struggle with this aspect when sewing. If we cannot comparatively match our fabrics, what is the purpose?

  20. #20
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    Novelty and landscape fabrics...I do allot of scenes and it's hard to find those types of fabric...do allot of searching.
    The QS I occasionally teach at offers space to teachers takes no portion, teachers are free to charge whatever only have to ck dates with owners calandar to make sure space is available. This brings in business because most will purchase materials for the classes there.
    They have two teas each yr for all their customers and bring in vendors, teachers to show what classes they are offering, anyone to do with sewing/quilting set up tables.
    They have a magazine, book area with chairs so you can find a pattern...They also trust you to take it home and brin git back when done.
    They send a monthly newsltr announcing the classes.
    They have gatherings for people on the wkends or at night so you can bring your UFO to finish and get help on if needed.
    They do allot of charity quilts...we all donate quilts to Project Linus, or this past winter made sqs and then put them together for the troops one wkend.
    I could go on...but I think your head is probably spinning at this pt.Good luck

  21. #21
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    space to lay out chosen fabrics to view them from a distance.

  22. #22
    grugirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan
    space to lay out chosen fabrics to view them from a distance.
    I have to 2nd this one also. Many times it is not doable in a store and it is frustrating

  23. #23
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    Definitely free coffee, tea or hot chocolate and a table with comfy chairs to foster conversation and ideas!

  24. #24
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    Staff who are friendly and don't think they are better than you.
    A basket on wheels to put bolts in while walking around and a table for previewing fabric choices. A clearance section is a must too. Good luck.

  25. #25
    grugirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbykat1955
    Novelty and landscape fabrics...I do allot of scenes and it's hard to find those types of fabric...do allot of searching.
    The QS I occasionally teach at offers space to teachers takes no portion, teachers are free to charge whatever only have to ck dates with owners calandar to make sure space is available. This brings in business because most will purchase materials for the classes there.
    They have two teas each yr for all their customers and bring in vendors, teachers to show what classes they are offering, anyone to do with sewing/quilting set up tables.
    They have a magazine, book area with chairs so you can find a pattern...They also trust you to take it home and brin git back when done.
    They send a monthly newsltr announcing the classes.
    They have gatherings for people on the wkends or at night so you can bring your UFO to finish and get help on if needed.
    They do allot of charity quilts...we all donate quilts to Project Linus, or this past winter made sqs and then put them together for the troops one wkend.
    I could go on...but I think your head is probably spinning at this pt.Good luck
    I have to agree with the landscape fabrics especially, brick tones and stones are hard to find for my houses. I am always on the lookout wherever I go. I still don't have many and have been searching for over 5 years.

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