Goodbye, Good Wives

Although I typically look forward to a fresh start with each new year, 2014 starts off with a bit of a sniff and a tear; one of my favorite quilt shops is in it’s final days.

The Good Wives Company announced in October that they would be closing the first of the year.

Chocolate-Covered CherriesIt has been one of my favorite shops;  small,  but filled to the brim with reproduction fabrics and patterns (and primitive furniture and accessories to boot).  As posted, they’re closing for health and life reasons- and I can certainly understand that. Running a small business in this day and age has to pretty much take over your life on all levels.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve dreamed off and on for years about owning a quilt shop. To surround yourself with fabric, creative process and like-minded quilters. But the logistics sometimes seem overwhelming- the financial wherewithal to actually open the shop, then running the business side of the shop, then running the creative side of the shop, then just actually running the shop- and then you hope and pray you can turn enough of a profit to get you to the next year.

After all that, I look at the competition coming from the online market and I wonder how does a local quilt shop compete?  When I’m the customer, when do I choose to buy online (and I do) and when do I make the road trip to my semi-local (20-30 miles) quilt shop?

I work full-time at a demanding job so that I can afford to quilt.  Evening hours are important to me.  If I have to wait two weeks to make it to the shop during their open hours, it ain’t gonna happen.  I’ll buy online tonight (and in all honesty, probably not from the LQS online).   Ditto for classes-  if my LQS is only hosting day-time or weekend classes, then I’m headed to Craftsy or Quilt University or even YouTube to get my fix.

All of the online resources though, don’t replace the human interaction of shared creativity.  Chatting with quilt shop staff makes the road trip more about sharing and less about a purchase;  attending a class with quilting friends I’ve just met reminds me again how important sharing is to quilters.  Where you have two or more quilters, you have a community.

And it’s that sense of community at which Good Wives Company excelled;  while I will miss their love of all things primitive, I hope they have a wonderful new year filled with a healthy balance of peace and possibilities.

2 thoughts on “Goodbye, Good Wives

  1. So sad when a small business closes. But you know we pay $22+ for a metre of premium quilt fabric, and buying it in from o/s is just so much cheaper. A real dilemma there. Mind you colours are never right on-line, so I do prefer to shop for fabric at the shop itself. And then there is Amazon. Even with postage, books are more than half the price. Sigh.

    • I agree, Dasha. I try to find the right balance between supporting local quilt shops and buying online but it’s hard. I think the whole quilting genre is changing and I’m not sure how brick-and-mortar quilt shops will transition.

      The new world of online quilting provides every fabric everywhere, every technique taught instantly on Youtube, quilt blogs with projects for every skill level and taste, and quilting friends via social media at the touch of a button.

      As younger (new) quilters come to the craft, they may bring with them their expectations of an “always on” digital quilting experience that’s difficult for the local quilt shop to replicate.

      I think local quilt shops will eventually find their place in the new world- they have so much to offer! I just keep trying (in the little ways I can) to help keep them in business till they get there!

      Thanks for the comments; this topic is close to my heart…

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