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Some Straight Talk Regarding The Importance of Supporting Quilt Shops

In honor of Worldwide Quilting Day, I came across a lot of articles regarding the importance of quilt shops in our communities.

If you've noted anything I have said in the past...we cannot have our cake and eat it too. I am passionate about the brick-and-mortar experience and will continue to be, seeew nothing I say should surprise you.  If you're going to get offended at me suggesting the importance of supporting brick-and-mortars (oh yes, there are those that do), then feel free to not follow this blog. If you want to see your favorite quilt shop thrive, if you want to see more fabric arrive, more classes offered, more hours.....then continue. If when following your favorite store on Social Media you ask, "Can I order that from you?" instead of "What's the name of that fabric?" or "Who is the designer of that pattern?"...then welcome aboard!
Let's first take a look at some of the benefits of supporting your brick-and-mortar quilt shops....
I have always said that if one must shop from an on-line source, make sure that website has a brick and mortar to visit. Your local quilt shops bring much to any community. If you're lucky to get a good one in your area, get behind it! Especially those that like to create experiences!  I'm not saying don't shop from websites (as they do serve a purpose), but supporting a website with a storefront that can be visited, says the owner is willing to invest back into the community. There are many reasons most "on-line only" operations go into business:
They don't want the interruptions that come with a brick-and-mortar space.
They don't have to decorate an entire store space with samples.
They don't have to tirelessly clean up messes of fabric thrown around.
They don't have a line in front of them during sales.
They don't have quilters coming in with purchases they made on-line or elsewhere, and expecting help.
The list goes on.
Every quilter that I have a conversation with says, "I have to see and touch the fabric." That opportunity will continue to dwindle if people do not get behind their shops! Fewer options are never a good thing. "Fabric is so expensive" is another comment I read on blogs and social media in the industry. Actually since we opened in 2005, fabric has only gone up $2-$3 (depending on manufacturer and cotton vs. flannel/batik). That equates to about .23 cents a year. Over 13 years. That's hardly outrageous. Keep in mind that when fabric was $8.99yd people said it was too expensive...and that was back in 2005!
So the question is: What price do you want to pay for fabric?
Is there ever a price that will make the masses happy?
Yes you can get fabric on the internet cheaper. This is not news and I've covered this topic before. Every quilt shop has a sale section in their store and some of us even have sale sections on our websites.
Here at the Shoppe we offer every day savings with our shopping bag! We have made it so easy that all you have to do is bring your bag with you! I mean??? How much easier can it get? In addition you earn Quilting Queen points for every dollar spent. When you earn 300 points you will receive a $30 Gift Certificate. This applies in-store and on-line! It's fair for me to say, we are doing our part to make quilting affordable for you!

But back to my discussion....
The MSRP on fabric is set in place to ensure a healthy profit margin for any shop.
Profit is not an evil word but unfortunately the culture in this country today seems to think it is. The under-cutters are doing a disservice to the entire industry which will ultimately devalue the craft. Over time, this will affect you because eventually brick and mortars will say, "enough!"  We've already witnessed this year the announcement that Free Spirit/ Westminster will be ceasing fabric production. Designers, warehouse workers, sales reps, will be out of a job. Hopefully only temporary. The money from fabric sales in your local quilt stores pays for the space for you to walk into, it goes to paying an employee or two (and heaven forbid the owner should get to take home pay after working 80 hours a week), it goes to hosting a website, to paying the credit card fees, payroll taxes, making samples, and bringing in new fabrics seeew that people don't start gossiping, "They don't have as much as they used to." Oh yes, we've heard it all in 13 years. Are you aware a full collection of fabric (42 skus) can cost a couple grand? That's just to bring it in. Stores don't get discounts on the product we bring in, we don't get discounts on shipping, and we don't get discounts on paying employee wages. Could you imagine? "Hey could I discount your paycheck this week?" I don't think that's going to work. LOL.
Something to think about as you read this next article referred to as "United We Stand" in the next post.... ~ B