Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Your Dream Quilt Shop

Hello Quilting Friends!
I know I have posted anything on my blog in ages, but yes, I'm still alive and kicking. We've been busy as ever, but life is good. I need your input, friends.

My hubby and I are looking at building a new quilt shop, possibly a small quaint two-story building, on our 80 acres, close to the road for visibility, (and away from the house for our privacy.) I need ideas and a good estimate on how much room I will need. I would like to have my long-arm frame and sewing machines, etc. (the workroom) in upstairs. (I hope to have a second long-arm in the future.) The downstairs would be a quilt/fabric shop for display/sale. Mind you, I live WAY out in the country. We live on a busy County road two miles off the main highway, which is also close to a Turnpike. So, I doubt I would have a large amount of  face-to-face business traffic in the store - just mostly customers dropping off & picking up quilts for custom quilting services. Most of my fabric & notions sales would probably be on the internet.

I have a favor to ask of you, especially those who have a quilt shop/room. Would you mind answering a few questions:
1. What is the smallest room size would you have for quilting/sewing room?
2. What is the smallest room size would you have for fabric store?
3. How many bolts of fabrics would you start with at a minimum?
4. Are there any particular brands of fabric that I should buy or stay away from?
5. Besides the basic sewing/quilting supplies (needles, thread, scissors, etc) what items do think a customer should expect to see in a small quilt shop?
6. Are cutting tools & dies (like Accuquilts Go cutters) a good investment for a small retail shop?

To help you answer these question, it may be helpful to know a little about the geographic/economic area. I'm in rural Oklahoma. The nearest town of any size is Cleveland with population about 3500 people, and is considered a "bedroom community" (meaning 80% - 90% of the population commute to work.)
Our local Wal-Mart has a pretty large fabric section and they will move into the new Wal-Mart Super Center this fall. We were afraid that we would lose the fabric section like all the other new Super Centers. Recently, they were told they WILL keep the fabric department but will be scaled down a little bit.. (not as much as the new Super Centers in the bigger towns.)

Tulsa (and the surrounding Metro) is the largest city in our immediate area, about 30 - 45 minute drive. They have Hancock's, JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, etc and really not very many independent fabric shops that I have found through my internet searches.

Most the residents in our area ABHOR having to drive to the "big" city for anything. Heavy traffic, road construction, gas prices, and just the time and headache are big deterrents. However... on the flip-side, most of the residents are middle to lower income and are bargain shoppers or just plain frugal. I'm concerned that it will take so long to convince customers that the higher prices of quality quilt fabric is worth the extra expense. I do not want this business to be just a very expensive hobby, which is one of my dear hubby's main concerns and rightly so. I don't want it to go under before it has a chance to get up and running. I truly want this to be a self-sustaining, profitable business.

Any thoughts, suggestions, pictures, floor plans, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Oh, yes, I forgot to add that I will have a display case of honey, beeswax, candles, and other bee products for sale in the shop too. Hence the name Sweet Quilt-n-Bee Shoppe. *Ü*