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Thread: Suggestions please...

  1. #1
    Super Member koko's Avatar
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    I've seen many posts lately about the poor economy and how that has affected local quilt shops and other small businesses. With the price of cotton going up I'm sure the additional cost will have to be passed on to customers.

    What suggestions do you have for local quilt shops which would help them to keep quilters' coming back?

  2. #2
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    sales of course. maybe some small affordable classes and just some sew in's where quilters can get together just to sew and chat. door prizes once a month.

  3. #3
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    I really like the sew-in idea. Sometimes the problem isn't getting people to buy, it's getting people in the door in the first place. It is also a "friendly" thing to do, which is always a big perk.

    If the LQS is THE place to be, it'll also be the place to buy.

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    This is true, many of them have class rooms sitting empty a lot of the time :D:D:D

  5. #5
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    Great Customer service will keep them coming back and inviting others to join them.

    Treating EVERY customer the same no matter if they spend a thousand dollars at a time or just a few dollars. Some shop owners are a bit snobbish to some customers which hurts them in the short and long run. If you treat customers right they will come back.

  6. #6
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    I agree with this post...even free quilting classes..they will end up buying rulers and fabrics and keep coming back.
    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan
    sales of course. maybe some small affordable classes and just some sew in's where quilters can get together just to sew and chat. door prizes once a month.

  7. #7
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
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    One of my LQS has block of the month programs, you have to come in person to pick up the next month's kit. And bring in your completed block from the previous month for a little discount.

    The thing that brings me back to my local shops - projects on display that I fall in love with and have to do, and new fabrics that need to be fondled and drooled over (I try to limit the actual drooling to NOT on the fabric ... lol!).

  8. #8
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    What about sponsoring a fabric swap? No purchase necessary, get together with other quilters and trade stash.

    Not only would it foster goodwill with the quilters who participate, but no doubt people who get new (to them) fabric will want to buy items to complement it - coordinating fabric, a new pattern, a notion they heard someone else talking about, etc. Maybe offer an after-hours discount to this group, for that day only?

  9. #9
    Member sand344's Avatar
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    We have a quilt store that offers their sometimes empty classrooms for a sit and sew day. This not only is good for us but for the shop as well. We buy fabrics and notions as long as we are there. It doesn't matter if we need them, they just catch our eye. Good for the Quilt shop, yes?

  10. #10
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR
    I really like the sew-in idea. Sometimes the problem isn't getting people to buy, it's getting people in the door in the first place. It is also a "friendly" thing to do, which is always a big perk.

    If the LQS is THE place to be, it'll also be the place to buy.
    Ours used to do this once a month on a Friday night and it was a huge success. They made a lot of sales. Now they charge $20 and have dinner brought in so I can't go anymore. I can't afford it.

  11. #11
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    Free Block of the Month patterns will always bring me into a shop. :-D

  12. #12
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR
    I really like the sew-in idea. Sometimes the problem isn't getting people to buy, it's getting people in the door in the first place. It is also a "friendly" thing to do, which is always a big perk.

    If the LQS is THE place to be, it'll also be the place to buy.
    Ours used to do this once a month on a Friday night and it was a huge success. They made a lot of sales. Now they charge $20 and have dinner brought in so I can't go anymore. I can't afford it.
    That's the thing - it has to be completely FREE to participate. A potluck would be much smarter.

  13. #13
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I would love more sales. Ours never have any it seems!

  14. #14
    Super Member bjeriann's Avatar
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    We have 2 LQS's - The first one is great in customer service, fabric, and classes, The other isn't. They never have sales or classes and the fabric is atleast 10 to 20% higher. I don't know how they stay in business.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ncsewer's Avatar
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    I agree that classes are a great way to get folks in. Even though I don't have to buy the supplies there, they usually have made it convenient to purchase a kit with any special templates or items I need. Sometimes even the fabric if you want My favorite quilt store has machines in the class room so I don't need to take mine. That's a real draw for many, not having to lug around a machine. Also it gives people the chance to try out the machines! Not a bad idea if you sell machines.
    Quote Originally Posted by koko
    I've seen many posts lately about the poor economy and how that has affected local quilt shops and other small businesses. With the price of cotton going up I'm sure the additional cost will have to be passed on to customers.

    What suggestions do you have for local quilt shops which would help them to keep quilters' coming back?

  16. #16
    Nanna to Emmie's Avatar
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    I think if they were to offer a "club" where you can pay so much per week and then have the money to spend. For instance, $5 a week for ten weeks would be $50. Where I am from small businesses do this and it makes things easier to pay for and still get nice things.

  17. #17
    Super Member Vicki W's Avatar
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    My nephew owns a bike shop in LA. He is often told my some customers that he is more expensive than online. However, the customers come back to him. Why? Because he adds value to the purchase with knowledge. He helps fit the bike to way it is going to be used and helps to personalize it.

    A local quilt shop has to do the same to stay in business. They have to be a "fountain of knowledge" so that the customer feels that they are adding value. This can be done by helping to select patterns and fabrics, offering classes, offering services or connections for services that quilters want and demostrations. Helping to host local shows etc.

  18. #18
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    Ours runs sales periodically and every summer they have a tent sale to get rid of last years fabrics. Mostly, it's about being friendly!! That's why I go back to the same one. They are so nice there. I just wish it wasn't an hour away or I would go more. :)

  19. #19
    Senior Member Durinda's Avatar
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    As a new wanna be quilter I looked and looked for a local quilting class just to see if I could do it. I found nothing in easy driving distance and even those were very expensive lessons with several sessions. I found this board and am now having a great time learning from all you experts in the BOM groups. I think that a beginner's class with just a small block to start would have drawn me into a local shop. :-)

  20. #20

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    Fantastic customer service! Be helpful to everyone, not just your regulars. Also, great beginner classes can attract new business. I often see beginner classes that aren't very good.

  21. #21
    Senior Member donac's Avatar
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    Our LQS has offered us her classroom to sew pillowcases for ConKer Cancer. The ones who do come always spend money for other projects so it is a win win situation

  22. #22
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durinda
    As a new wanna be quilter I looked and looked for a local quilting class just to see if I could do it. I found nothing in easy driving distance and even those were very expensive lessons with several sessions. I found this board and am now having a great time learning from all you experts in the BOM groups. I think that a beginner's class with just a small block to start would have drawn me into a local shop. :-)
    I think a free intro class would be great! Get people hooked, then they can't help but come back! :twisted:

  23. #23
    Super Member quilt queen 2's Avatar
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    All of the fabric shops in my area are so obliging they will cut FQ out of any fabric and sell some of the discontinued fabric as cheaper FQ, they all have remnant bins.A group of us get together at a church hall pay $5.00 each This covers the cost of the hall, door prize, along with instructions for an item you can make with FQ.Often these items can be used as small gifts. One of our FQ projects will be the topper from Riversongs tute. Another will be the Moda Bakeshop Bookeeper pattern.This way it's fun and encourages new quilters.We also have old rulers and mats to use at the hall.All of our new quilters are happy with the shops treatment but they are all an hours drive away so for a lot shop courses are just too expensive to start with.

  24. #24
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltingGrannie
    Great Customer service will keep them coming back and inviting others to join them.

    Treating EVERY customer the same no matter if they spend a thousand dollars at a time or just a few dollars. Some shop owners are a bit snobbish to some customers which hurts them in the short and long run. If you treat customers right they will come back.
    "DITTO" Well said! Always smile.

  25. #25
    sewTinker's Avatar
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    in-house classes, or even "sit & sews," would draw me in. The quilt shop closest to me does not offer these (lack of space). I so wish they did... Also, the availability of a Large table to be used for sandwiching would be a draw. (Small signs in the shop could advertise this nicety.) The BOM where the quilter buys the first one and gets the rest for free if they come in on a certain day with the previous block as evidence of their prowess would be draw. The complimentary use of a light box would also bring quilters in. Having an area with a couple of easy chairs, hot water for tea, and a few magazines will encourage customers to browse. Allowing quilters to consign their quilts and other goodies in the shop might help. A 'frequent buyer' card offering a grab bag of fabric after 10 or 20 shop visits. Mini in-store quilt shows every once in a while. Simple things like these that establish relationships with the quilting community.

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