Local Quilt Store(s)

Again I haven't written anything in a very long time, too busy with the orders and new arrivals :)

Today I would like to talk about something that has been on my mind a lot, and I have been meaning to write about it for a while. It is about "Local Quilt Stores". I belong to a couple of sewing/quilting/fabric groups on Facebook and I sometimes see people post about the way they were treated at their local quilt stores, some have wonderful experiences that make them want to go back even if it is far away, where others have really bad experiences. I am going to tell you about my own experiences.

Before my move to Caledon I used to live in the Oakville/Burlington area in ON; the only fabric store I used for my own projects was Fabricland which was super expensive, but this was all I knew at the time. During one of our trips to the cottage back then I discovered a really nice quilt shop out in the country, 5 min walk to where we used to stay in a cottage. I saw it and walked in to check it out. At that time I was working on my very first quilt. The lady who worked there and owned it welcomed me with open arms, I told her I was really new to quilting, she showed me a few tricks right there on the spot, she showed me a few handy tools she had in store she also encouraged me to finish the quilt, no matter what, even if it did not turn out as I wanted it to. She was super nice, I bought a few things from her and came back the following day to grab some fabric for my sewing projects on the go. I kept visiting her store (and spending a lot of money :)) since that day every time we would go to the cottage it was a big highlight of our vacations. When my daughter was born, this lady is the one who encouraged me to try making something for the stroller I would not have even thought of. Amazing experience and like I said I kept coming back there. Unfortunately for me and local people there she retired a couple years ago and closed her store, what a loss!

Well, on our drives out that way I have also spotted another fabric store and I have been meaning to stop there, but never did. Years later when my favourite one was closed and we were at the cottage I decided to take a drive that way and check it out. What an experience that was! The moment I walked in through the door the lady at the front greeted me and asked if I needed help, I politely told her I was just looking and moved towards one of the fabric shelves. I was just looking at some fabric not even 5 minutes later the same lady came up to me and asked if I was really sure I did not need help, I told her I did not, but at that point I really started to feel a little uncomfortable. I moved on towards the shelves with patterns and kits and just as I was picking a pattern to purchase I heard footsteps, turned my head and realized the lady was behind me watching me the whole time, maybe making sure I was not going to steal anything? I don't know, but all I know that at that particular moment when I realized that I was being watched like that all I wanted to do was to leave even though I have not even seen half of the store. They had a long arm and some beautiful quilts and quilt kits for sale and I really wanted to buy some stuff even though I found it to be quite pricey, but the way I was being watched I just wanted to run away. I tried talking to the lady asking her a few questions about the long arm as they offered to rent it as well as they offered the quilting service, but I did not know that at the time and when I tried asking the lady she just very briefly would say yes or no, almost like she really wanted me out. I really tried to befriend her, told her about the quilt I was going to start, but all that in vain I felt she was really annoyed with my presence. Needless to say I quickly paid for the pattern and a couple of other little things and got out of there very fast with a bad feeling. I did not feel welcome, I felt like a kid that took a chocolate bar from the cupboard and his mom caught him, I never went back there for years. Maybe it was my age I told myself, but you can't assume that younger people don't sew, I really wanted to grab some fabric, but I felt so uncomfortable I had to leave.

Last summer we were in the area again and I decided to give the store another try, this time I went in with my husband and my daughter. It was a different lady and perhaps I looked older and had a family with me, so I was able to take a look at the store, but it took me a few years to decide to try again.

Do you have any good or bad experiences of your own? Please share them, it would be interesting to see what others think about this and what the experiences have been.


1 comment

  • Absolutely agree! I have pulled into parking lots and left because going into a quilt store was so intimidating after being treated poorly.
    A year ago I walked into Quilt Rack in Ancaster ON and was met by the owner Lucy! Even her name ia perfect for a Quilt Lady. She changed my life! I joined a class, and dragged my niece into this venture with me! I have finished one quilt and have 4 others in various stages. Also just finished table runners for Christmas…even one of my own design.
    I have found a warm learning experience and someone that is always encouraging. She even supports venturing beyond her shop and recommended Becks and Funky Monkey for online purchases.
    Everyone has to start somewhere! My quilt journey has been life changing all thanks to a warm, welcoming quilter named Lucy! Many stores of all kinds could learn from this!

    Gail Whayman

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