Friday, June 01, 2012

shopping locally

Over and over, I've read how we should support our local quilt shops. Honestly, I'm more of a box store girl myself. Or an online shopper. Part of that's because they fit my budget better. Part is because I've always got four kids in tow and shopping for supplies at Walmart or Joann's is easier.

And part of that is because I haven't found that many quilt shops I want to go back to.

I've been to quilt shops. Lots of them. Between some lengthy shop hops and stops on our family vacations, I've probably been to at least a hundred. Only a handful of those made me really want to go back. And, sadly, most of those aren't within driving range.

I've been trying to track down the new issue of Primitive Quilts, because I didn't print out the pattern for Cheddar Cheese and Crackers when it was free over at Humble Quilts. I might feel a bit bad about that if there weren't so many other projects in that magazine that I want to try.

I didn't call the quilt shop close to home because I don't like shopping there. The last time I went looking for neutrals, what seemed to be every adult male member of the owner's family was in the shop discussing how to arrange the tables for a pot luck they were having later that night. And standing directly in front of most of the fabric displays. I felt like an intruder and left.

I didn't think to call the new shop that's also close to home, because to be honest, I forgot they were there. And I wasn't headed that direction.

I called what's probably my favorite of the shops on my regular route for running errands. They don't carry the magazine. I don't think they've ever had what I was looking for, but they're always very nice about it. That's why I keep trying them.

I called another shop a little farther from home, only because the Primitive Quilts website had them listed in their shop directory. They had the magazine, but were no help in finding it. (It was on the counter next to the cash register.)

That same day, I stopped at one of the scrap booking shops to look for an embellishment I'd seen online and fallen in love with (just try to tell me I don't need to buy a set of these fractured dolls and make a itty-bitty quilt for each of them!)

I was a half step into the store and still reading the signs on the inside of the doors, when the nice ladies invited me to have a cookie and tour the shop to see their new inventory and head to the back corner where there were make-n-takes... I so wish I could've stayed longer!

It was kind of like being drawn into a cult -- "Come in, have a cookie, look at the embellishment, drink some Kool Aid!" -- and I mean that in the best, most positive way possible.

Maybe it's because I'm still reading and loving Joanna Campbell Slan's Scrap-N-Craft mysteries, or because I've got that new Sizzix Big Shot sitting here, but I'm being totally seduced by all of the fun scrapping embellishments right now. And I know exactly where I'm going to go when I'm ready to buy more. They didn't have the little broken dolls, but are ordering some for me.

4 comments:

Allie said...

You know, we have a few quilt shops around here...but when I walk in, I feel like I've interrupted something, like it's a club I've not been invited to join. Not Fun. I do most of my shopping at the big box store, mostly because it's what I can afford. And online is ALWAYS fun - who doesn't love getting a parcel in the mail! I'm glad you found a lovely place to shop.

Heather said...

I know exactly what you mean! I've tried going into my local quilt shop many times. Every time I go in though, while they seem polite I always feel like I'm being rushed out (wonder if that has anything to do with having a baby in tow) and they rarely have anything I'm interested it buying. The last time I went I simply vowed not to go back and chucked out my frequent buyer card. I also have four kids and it does seem impossible sometimes to enter any store, especially a small locally owned one. And while I'm on it although so many of these shops are owned locally, they so rarely have locally produced products. One local craft shop while they were really nice and had lots of organic fabric only had a few skeins of locally raised yarn out of hundreds, which really surprised me.
It's definitely rare and wonderful to get great customer service and many small businesses would benefit from that lesson.
What a story of frozen Charlotte, what women will do for fashion I tell ya!!

Anita said...

We have a shop that I have been in a couple times with and without children in tow...they were very unfriendly both times. I definitely prefer shopping online, mainly because you don't waste gas driving to a shop that only stocks old school fabrics. I like bright modern prints and many shops don't carry them...or have a single shelf devoted too them..not to mention the $11+ a yard price tag. OUCH!

I hear people complain about them going out of business, but maybe they should re-consider their approach?

Timestep said...

We have two local quilt shops. One of them has never felt warm and fuzzy, but they also don't leave me feeling rushed. The other shop i've had people teach me how to hand sew a better binding, spend an hour helping me find a palette for fabric when I was struggling on my own and squee with delight over the quilt I put together with the palette they helped me chose. They have kid projects over the summer (no moms allowed) and is a bright and cheerful place. They don't always have what I want - and then I go elsewhere or online - but the service I receive has made it worth my time.

While I agree with the idea that you shop local, independent -- that comes with the caveat that you feel like it's a place you want to spend your money. If the shop or staff is substandard, there is no reason to support them any more than you would any other business.

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