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Thread: Why shops close

  1. #1
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Why shops close

    Just musings from personal observation and postings from shops in my area over the last few years.


    shop owners are retiring. Owning a shop IS a business, a carreer, a dream that has run its course. We have all been there. We all will want to retire if we have not done so already.

    Some have lost their spouse...life changing, esp if the spouse was active in the business.

    Shop owners are Tired. After many years in business, they are burned out, tired, lost interest, ready for a change.

    The need to care for elder parents, relatives, perhaps wanting to spend time with the family, with the grands. Life. Happens.

    Some shops closed after a long time in business because the landlord has jacked up the price or the rental fee and the shop owner is being pushed out of the space in favor of a tenant willing to pay the revised monthly rent. Some of these situations have given the tired shop owner the opportunity to gracefully move on vs starting over in a new location.

    I once frequented a shop with multiple partners who thought it would be fun to open a store. They shut down after a few years and the reason? They admitted to have not realized how time consuming and difficult it was to own, run and market a quilt shop. Yes, it is a retail business. I admired them for admitting to the reality. A couple of the husbands were retired already and wanted their wives to join them. Again...life!

    My first job/career was in retail....retail management. I loved it but I got burned out after 13 years. Open Sunday hours did me in.

    Businesses come and go. Celebrate their successes.

    sandy
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 01-02-2018 at 07:21 AM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps
    Sandygirl

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  2. #2
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    Agree 200% with your musings........like any other "mom & pop" type business....large chain type store can keep going because employees are just employees....not only urban situation, but also rural......many family farms are becoming corporate farms......progress?

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    A great shop in Salem, Oregon, closed a few years ago because the owner wanted to retire. An unsuccessful search was mounted for a new buyer. You're right that many shops do close because the owner chooses another path, but I suspect that most close for purely financial reasons.

  4. #4
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    There is a beautiful needlework store about 120 miles from me - I told the owner she needed to open a store in my town of 180,000 because we don’t have anything close to what she has. She said “no way, I can’t find enough reliable help for this one”.

  5. #5
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    I think brick and mortar stores will all begin to close as the Internet takes over. Many retailers and malls are seeing the impact of Amazon and Internet sales. I am beginning to feel how my parents felt as times and technology changed too quickly for them. I still use mostly cash for store purchases but even that is changing to debit and charge only.

  6. #6
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    Often heirs of the owners have experienced the absence of family during some 'holiday' weekends such as Christmas Eve where some shops would be open until 6:00 p.m. only to reopen the day after and having to use the short time off for the after holiday sale. The heirs choose not to have their lives interrupted because of the family business. That last sale "Is" the "Last Sale". They do appreciate any and all financial benefits but still can't compare to "time with family", precious memories lost because of having never been created!!
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 01-02-2018 at 09:17 AM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps

  7. #7
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Change will happen, nothing can stop that. We are the last generation to know how life was before knowledge on demand.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  8. #8
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    Retail is hard, hard work. Dealing with the general public is even harder. There is nothing nicer than walking into a quilt shop for the first time and being greeted warmly and told to enjoy yourself and let them know if you need any kind of help. Smelling freshly brewed coffee and seeing spouses and significant others hanging out in a comfy chair while you browse to your heart's content. Nothing like seeing and touching the fabrics. Love looking at shop samples for fresh inspiration. This is something online shops can never provide. Still, I do enjoy being able to poke around fabric sites any time of day or night in my pjs. Sadly, I fear the brick and mortar quilt shops will join the dinosauers within the next 20 years. Remember when even a small town could support one or more yarn shops? Sure you paid more but the quality was excellent and the owner was there to help you through a difficult pattern or even fix a major mistake.

  9. #9
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Independent retail is very fluid. It's demanding and you do see a lot of burn out/retirement. Enjoy and support them while they are there!
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  10. #10
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    Years ago, everyone bemoaned how Walmart was closing Mom & Pops. We had several fabric stores close here after Walmart started selling fabric. Then, Walmart closed their fabric department. We were left with just mail order or driving to Memphis or Jackson, about 2 hours to get material.

    I worked my way thru college cutting for my aunt who owned a Hancock's. She saw the writing on the wall when Walmart opened in her home town back in the early 80's and sold her store. The poor woman that bought it was out of business about 2 years later. She couldn't even pay the rent because sales had gotten so bad.

    Walmart did reopen their fabric dept here last year, so I can get some things, but I've gotten accustomed to buying online. It appears karma can and does bite. Walmart fabric will soon be closed due to them not being able to compete with online. Couldn't happen to a nicer company.

    I do miss being able to feel and compare the different bolts of material. There's no way to duplicate that online.

  11. #11
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    It has happened to every kind of mom and pop business. As a young woman, I worked at a Marriott hotel near the "trade center". They had seasonal "markets" where small businesses came and chose their wares for the upcoming season. The whole area was a madhouse during market. The big markets are no more. They tore down the huge market center a few years back. The nice, huge, full service Marriott is now a Marriott Courtyard. Several of the market center buildings have been re-purposed.

    With the changes in lifestyle (almost all women work outside the home now), the change in demographics (about 20% of our residents are immigrants) and the change in economics (the middle class is struggling), I can't see mom and pop retail improving. Add in all the taxes, insurance, regulation, paperwork and the need to have an online presence and you've got a tough nut to crack whether you're a quilt shop or an air conditioning company.

    bkay

  12. #12
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    There are many of us here who have owned quilt shops. Perhaps we could have an accounting of why we closed our shops.

    I owned mine in Dallas TX and closed in 2001 following a divorce and inability to find a buyer who wanted to continue. I miss it rarely but have discovered I often dream of opening/running/or consulting for a quilt shop. I can't imagine why I'd even want to do that at age 73 and full of arthritis?!!

    Jan in VA
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  13. #13
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    I was a manager of a non-profit quilt store..I was paid 1/2 time but often took work home that took up most of the night. The store ran mostly with volunteers in a very rural small town. If i would have been paid full time and sales persons would have been paid, I don't think It would have survived. It still exists with a manager and associate and many, many volunteers and the non-profit owns the building.

    So, I agree with your posting.

  14. #14
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    The cost of fabric keeps a lot of younger people from quilting and limits how much fabric I buy now too. I am fortunate to live where I can access a few places that sell quality fabric, but all but one quilt store now exists.
    Penny

  15. #15
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Instead of focusing on what shops are doing wrong, I'm going to focus on what shops are doing right.

    I live near a quilt shop that is going gangbusters. She's open Saturdays AND Sundays, which is important to those of us still working full-time jobs. She has a classroom and offers a variety of classes and teachers. The classroom is also available for group sewing time, or if you need help or space with a certain project. She has a generous selection of good quality fabrics. She has a full selection of quality notions. Her store is clean, well-lit, and decorated in an attractive and welcoming way.

    However, in my opinion, she has two things that most LQS owners do not possess.

    First, she bought a computerized Gammill and started taking in tops to quilt. It was so successful that she purchased a second one. It kept the shop afloat during those first two years where she struggled to pay the rent, and it keeps customers coming into her shop. They come in to drop off a top, and while they're there, they find a pattern or some new fabric they just HAVE to have. So they buy it, make a quilt, bring it in to be quilted, and so goes the circle of quilt life. Brilliant.

    Second, (and most important, IMO) she is EXCELLENT with customers. She has this wonderful gift of being able to help you at just the right level. If you need help with color placement. If you need help with a technique. If there's something not quite right with your quilt but you just can't figure out what it is, she can tell you what she thinks and offer suggestions for how to fix it. She's a creative, experienced quilter in her own right, and I have found that every suggestion she's ever given me has been right on target. Despite being busy nearly all the time, she will stop what she's doing to patiently admire your latest project, or chat with you about your pets, or your kids, or your husband. She knows almost every customer by name. You don't get the sense that her relationship with you (the customer) didn't end when your transaction was completed and she moved on to the next customer. THAT is what makes this particular quilt shop very successful.

  16. #16
    Super Member running1's Avatar
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    This is becoming a real problem in many states...here in Oklahoma all of our city revenues (this is statewide) come ONLY from sales tax...when people spend their money over the Internet, the towns and cities lose. There are beginnings of a fix for this...but many mom-and-pop stores have already failed due to this very problem. Being the wife of a small town mayor, we shop in town almost exclusively...and all my quilting shopping happens in local quilt shops in the next towns along the way to Oklahoma City. It is a small commitment I've made to the LQS, wherever that LQS is located!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I think brick and mortar stores will all begin to close as the Internet takes over. Many retailers and malls are seeing the impact of Amazon and Internet sales. I am beginning to feel how my parents felt as times and technology changed too quickly for them. I still use mostly cash for store purchases but even that is changing to debit and charge only.
    "... let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

  17. #17
    Super Member gingerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    Change will happen, nothing can stop that. We are the last generation to know how life was before knowledge on demand.
    Very true.............amazing to think how things have changed in that way.
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  18. #18
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Luckily I have enough fabrics to use i my lifetime and several more. I really only buy remenets or blenders for my charity quilts. Spent lots of money long ago.

    We closed our business last year because we didn't want to work the rest of our lives. We only sold industrial things. Most people don't know what they were for nor how to use them. We are enjoying being at home.
    Another Phyllis
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  19. #19
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    A friendly staff will help keep customers coming back. Shop owners and customers should remember to thank each other for their services. I rather patronize a friends shop that appreciates my money.

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I see my friend that owns a quilt shop work 6 days a week--one of those she takes a half day off to quilt with a hand quilting group so really not a day off! And long days! She's stepped it up by having an active on-line presence also, so think it's safe to say that profits are there, especially as she only has extra help for sales, hops and a couple of mornings a week. hard way to make a living--but so appreciated that I shop there regularly.

  21. #21
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    Peckish-the owner of your LQS sounds like a dynamo-but she too will burn out, unfortunately.
    Speaking of Walmart fabric selection- it is not what it used to be...quality wise.....I walk thru,look, keep walking...the closest LQS is about 15 miles away,I will stop by when in area, but not often enough to help them stay open, and I'm sure one day it will have the "store closing sign" in window....owners are getting up in age....and unlike big business there is no board to seek or choose a new CEO!
    its true, the cost of fabric has risen, but look around-cars, houses,sewing machines,groceries,medical, it goes on & on!

  22. #22
    Super Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    I live in Amish quilt country, so there are a lot of LQS close. When ever I am in need of a fabric fix, I visit one or two of them to look, get ideas, pet the fabric, hobnob with friends etc. I always buy something, even if I don't need it at the time. I want them to be there the next time I need a fabric fix. I also shop on line.

    Marcia

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewgull View Post
    A friendly staff will help keep customers coming back. Shop owners and customers should remember to thank each other for their services. I rather patronize a friends shop that appreciates my money.
    This is so true - I stopped going to a shop because of a change in staff. Not always a wise idea to hire a friend or relative.

  24. #24
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    This is a very interesting thread.
    The largest quilt shop in Columbus ran for 30 years. The owners retired and moved to Florida. A young couple bought the business but closed within two years. Sad.
    I like the idea that Peckish talked about- long arm quilting services. Years ago people didn't have a need for them as they do now. That's a great idea.
    I don't see how shop owners can compete with online sellers. That doesn't just include quilt shops. I'm talking about just about everything.

  25. #25
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    I totally agree with you, Tartan. All this technology is moving way to fast for me. I don't know a Tweet from a HashTag. But we do have this wonderful QB. Was reading about the beginnings of the Best Friends organization and they used CompuServe back in the early 90s to get the word out. I remember friends embracing that technology. I never wanted to give up time with my fabric and sewing machines! Guess we all seek our comfort level!

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