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Thread: What Does Your Local Fabric Shop Do In-house Besides Sell Fabric?

  1. #1
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Whether itís a LQS or Chain Store, do fabric shops around your area offer any other services or products besides just fabric? Iím talking about the walk-in shops. I know some shops sell and/or repair sewing machines and/or vacuum cleaners, some do in-house longarm quilting, some give quilting and/or sewing lessons, others do alterations, rent formal wear, etc.

    We do mending, alterations, machine repairs, and ironing at ours. A shop in the next town sells and services sewing machines and vacuum cleaners. A shop in another nearby town offers quilt classes and longarm quilting. Weíre all in small cities/towns or rural areas. Most of us wouldnít be around if we only sold fabric.

    Iím just curious how many shops that you know of offer other products or services besides fabric, and what they are.

    CD in Oklahoma

  2. #2
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    You forgot to add in all the notions and toys we quilters like to purchase!

    You've pretty much covered what I've seen. Here's a couple extra ...

    * classroom rentals for your own use, whether for sewing or other purposes
    * pizza party nights, like a class where they eat pizza for supper, and quilt all night (and all night if you have the stamina)
    * commission work -- shop owner does commission sewing and some pretty incredible work, at that! Talk about inspiration to the shopper!

    And please ThayerRags, do tell us about your ironing service ..... is this for finished quilts? clothing? or? I'm thinking you might have something more commercial than the average home-style iron?

  3. #3
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
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    Our local quilt store does long arm quilting -- and is a flower shop. Love going in there! Smells so pretty :)

  4. #4
    Super Member Rose L's Avatar
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    My most local LQS does long arming, rents LA machines by the day and sells HQ's. Her husband also does sewing machine repairs but he is self taught so I wouldn't take my machine there for repairs, I prefer to drive a few hours to an authorized dealer.

    Another shop is in a bit more touristy area and does nothing but sell fabrics (a very nice selection of quality brand names). She says she sells almost nothing to the locals but sells enough during the summer to keep her shop in operation all year.

  5. #5
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    And please ThayerRags, do tell us about your ironing service ..... is this for finished quilts? clothing? or? I'm thinking you might have something more commercial than the average home-style iron?
    Clothing, drop off, pick up service. Everything ironed by hand, on an antique metal ironing board (one of the old solid ones) with a Rowenta Steam Iron. We go through about one iron per year. I press pant leg hems after Iíve hemmed them, but she does most of the clothing ironing. I do starch some batches for her when Iím needed.

    Our local Cleaners use presses, so we offer hand ironing. Some people prefer hand ironed clothes. We do most of the alterations and mending for the Cleaners too.

    CD in Oklahoma

  6. #6
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    Sell notions and books, offer classes, sit n sews, demonstrations, offer free use of the classrooms for quilty gettogethers, act as drop off point for machine repair and scissors sharpening (don't know about the quality, haven't used either service, but seems like a great idea, you've got 2 chances to sell to the customer, one at drop-off the other at pick-up), send out newsletters describing sales and classes, sells thread...that's all I can think of right now

  7. #7
    Super Member thequilterslink's Avatar
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    One of ours use to have a yarn shop, ice cream shop and a candy store... was yummy to go there.

  8. #8
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Some extras I just thought about, at other LQS in my area (somewhat area!!!!)

    * gifts and gift cards, purses, boots, mats, etc. (some quilty related, most not)
    * three different Menno/Amish fabrics are sidelines with their general store, hardware store (tucked away in the back, where most never know it is, is the fabric) and a bake shop at another!
    * knitting supplies and instruction
    * cook ... this one has a stove right in the store!!1, For courses, they cook lunch in/on it and/or bake muffins!

  9. #9
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thequilterslink
    One of ours use to have a yarn shop, ice cream shop and a candy store... was yummy to go there.
    ooooooooooh the ice cream would have a certain attraction to moi! :)

  10. #10
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    I havenít seen any Fabric Shops in combination with a Flower Shop, or Candy Store, or Bakery yet. They all sound like neat ideas, and it should make them feel ďhomierĒ, like the old General Stores were.

    My wife rejected my idea of putting a little Bait Shop in our fabric store. And it wasnít just NO either. I knew that she didnít like worms, but I told her that the gentle hum of the aerator on the Minnow Tank might really be relaxing for her....

    CD in Oklahoma

  11. #11
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    ThayerRags ... Being that you mentioned it, take a look at this quilt srore and it's origins!http://www.spiritrock.net/MothersFabricNotions.htm

  12. #12
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    A couple of them do long arm quilting and one is a wuilt shop and a yarn shop.

  13. #13
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    ThayerRags ... Being that you mentioned it, take a look at this quilt srore and it's origins!http://www.spiritrock.net/MothersFabricNotions.htm
    Motel, Tackle Shop, Gift Shop, & Fabric Shop! Gotta love it!

    Iíve often told my wife that the next time we buy a house, it needs to be an old motel. It would have space for all of our junk, plus individual rooms for each of our hobbies, and it wouldnít hurt to have rooms ready for the kids when they all come home....

    CD in Oklahoma

  14. #14
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    I thought that I would renew this old thread to see how things may have changed since last May. Has anyone noticed additional product or service changes at their brick & mortar LQS in the past six months (besides them closing)? I’m referring to taking on new and different retail products or adding additional services.

    With the increase in both fabric and fuel prices, I think small local shops will be looking for ways to diversify to stay afloat. Some quilters are less able to hop in the car with a couple of friends to go shop hopping to that distant shop that they’ve heard about, at least not as often as they once did. If traveling and shopping goes on the decline, especially in the rural areas, do you think small shops will try new products and services, or try going online with their business? Online fabric sales are getting very competitive.

    We’re not ready to go online yet, but we’ve had to expand our service area again (sq ft of usable shop space) and obviously, that shrinks our retail fabric & notions space. We started out in 2006 using 6.4% of our floor space for services (ironing, SM repair, & sewing/mending/alterations). It was originally just something to keep us busy during slow retail activity. But mending and alterations have been increasing, so in 2010, we increased that space to 10.6%, and this past month, we have increased that to 13.9% to be able to manage the service. Each time that we expand, we lose space for quilting fabric.

    Do you think that your LQS will change or stay the same? Do you think that brick & mortar fabric shops may become a thing of the past?

    CD in Oklahoma
    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
    ThayerRags Fabric Center
    http://thayerrags.com/

  15. #15
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    our shop does vacuum cleaners , sewing machine they sell and repair these. They have a small long-arrm they also sell. they give lessons and they have emb club.

  16. #16
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    One of mine sells strawberries and sunflowers from her on site garden. She also has another site that is a flower shop. The one downtown offers homemade large ironing boards along with the expected items in a quilt store/Janome dealer.

  17. #17
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    EVERYTHING!!!! Threads of Time in Danville, Il. offers classes, an unbelievably wonderful retreat center, money saving retreat passes, machine sales, Koala sewing chairs and furniture, free cookies, coffee, and tea, clubs, personal instruction, a friendly atmosphere, several machines set up to try out, online sales, reward points that amount to 10%, nationally known teachers for seminars and workshops several times a year, notion fairs, etc. Oh and they have a lovely relaxing garden with fountains, gazebo, patio furniture and even a large grill. They also provide a community garden for the neighbors.
    Last edited by raptureready; 03-01-2012 at 09:32 AM. Reason: forgot something
    If no one ever experimented we'd all still be making 4 patches.

  18. #18
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    The LQS where I work offers quilting cotton, notions, patterns, books, thread, plus homespuns and a large selection of wools. We have reproduction fabrics as well (both 1930's & '40's and Civil War)

    We have several Block a month programs, including Thangles Buck-A-Block. We offer classes and conduct a "Quilting Overnighter" twice a year at a nearby church.

    Although we do not offer longarm quilting services, we do have a list of area quilters who do so.

    We highly value our customers and do our best to be sure that they leave our shop with all their questions answered. One of my very favorite parts of the job is helping customers choose fabric for their projects. Oh, and we LOVE it when they bring the finished project back for "show & tell"!

    If you're ever in NE Indiana, stop by Caroline's Cottage Cottons in Rome City and say "Hi"!

    Cindy

  19. #19
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    My local quilt shop has a flower shop within her shop. She also does long-arm quilting and sews for people if they request. Since her space is large she has maybe 10 booths also set up that sell antiques, quilt and baby items, purses, jewelry, etc. This is a really nice touch, especially in a small town where people may be looking for gifts, etc. also. She gets a monthly rent check from the booth renters plus a small commission from things they sell. The antique booths do very well in her shop.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Handcraftsbyjen's Avatar
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    Our LQS also does picture framing. I would LOVE having an ice cream store as part of the quilt shop! I also like the flower shop idea.

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