Over the last year or two I have heard of a number of small quilt and craft stores that have had to close due to a number of reasons some of which include a drop in patronage and a raise in all costs. Times are tough and losing stores that supply our crafting needs locally is sad but the use of the tool we all ‘play’ on, the internet, has eased the void where a shop has closed, even though it’s not quite the same as spending time in your favourite store.
I run a very small quilting shop and bless every single one of my customers, all of them I value greatly and the ladies that come to the Sit’n Stitch days are in essence the soul of my store. Many of my ladies travel long distances to spend a day here, a couple of them travel for over an hour and openly say they prefer to shop locally (me being local), rather than using the internet. See, I told you they are awesome. I couldn’t imagine the stress and distress that having to close due to a loss in patronage would bring and hope I never find out either.
Here in New Zealand I know that there are quilt shop owners that ‘poach’ areas, there is one in particular that travels the length and breadth of our islands to sell his wears and has done so year after year for a long while. Now, locals save there crafting money for a visit from this traveller and even promote it amongst their own crafting communities. These are the same crafting communities that come to shops like mine for sponsorship and free advice neither of which I would ever turn down. I continue to promote our craft out of my passion for it but am becoming more and more disillusioned especially when I had a local woman tell me that there is another shop owner that travels over the Alps to sell to the local women and offers them free postage on any mail orders.
I am in a fortunate position in that I don’t pay rent and certainly don’t receive a wage ,so therefore I can hold out but I know there are others that are becoming more and more affected by these poachers infiltrating the nooks and crannies of our lands. What are your thoughts on this type of business? Is it fair, moral or just? What about the customer loyalty issue (I don’t think everyone is as lucky as I with their customers)? Then there is the sponsorship and support issue?
I’d be keen to hear your thoughts – let me know them.
have a great week