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Opening up SHOP

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Well today I went and looked at some Real estate to open a Quilt Shop. I am very excited about this but there is still much to learn for me.

I plan to have my Machine at the shop and another if I can get the financing I am hoping for.

Next week I will be doing alot of legwork on this idea. THe spot I like I believe will be perfect. I had considered leasing but my Husband would prefer I purchase Commercial property so I'm on the Hunt.

If any of you have some good advise for me or questions that you think are important that I ask please send me a U2 or email me at tbaggett@gt.rr.com.

This is a big step and well I'm just a tad scared but we only have two shops each well spaced from where I will be. I plan to focus on QUILTING for the most part and have some retail items like Quilts for sale.

Wish me luck. This is the early stages.

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Hi Grammie,

I wish you all the best on your new endever in life! ;)

Sorry I don't have any suggestions at this time except, do you have a business plan wrote up yet. I know that will be the most important outline for you to follow.

Good Luck and keep us informed as to how its going


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A friend opened our small town's first quilt shop 2 years ago.

She planned well and the shop is a success. If I'm hearing

you correctly, that is where you are, in the planning stages.

Besides the business plan that ClrtoQuilt mentioned and

the building inspection (ie, plumbing, roof, electrical) which

I'm sure your DH will insist upon, there are a couple things

that come to my mind as a shopper, not a shop owner.

--- Is there lots of parking? Not just shopping parking;

because if you are going to have classes in your shop or club

meetings (ie redwork or applique), that sucks up the parking

in a hurry.

--- If your shop will be open at night (or twilight), outdoor

lighting is another consideration. Safety and security are

key factors. I read somewhere that the average age for

a quilter is 55. Maybe it's just me that stumbles around, but

if a customer falls on your property, you could face some


--- Access to and from the parking lot; is it on a busy street

or is the nearest intersection light-controlled ?

I love to visit quilt shops. But all the fabric in the world is

not worth it if I have to circle the block or parking lot looking

for a place to park or if I don't feel safe getting to the shop

from my car.

That's my 2cents worth. I wish you every success.

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Well the location is super. Police station just down a block. Across from Community Acitivity building, Post office, Blockbuster and Local popular grocery store. The area is a small town setup with only a Diary queen and Sonic for fast food and only a few restestraunts to mention. It's a growing community. The time is now even if it takes a while to get it going. Parking is great and I have whole Lot behind this property to create Even more if the demand is there I won't hesitate.

Again I have alot to do to make this a reality but Wow What a dream come true. I have enough room to hopfully get some of you wonderful quilters to come and do some classes when the time is right. I have really high hopes for it.

I hopefully will Have a better grip on the reality in about two weeks. So much to find out still. I will make an offer on the property next week regardless of when I plan to open. I could easily lease the building if I decide I'm not ready. If I pass up this location I may not get the chance again. I feel this is the perfect spot.

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Grammie-you are amazing. I know your LAing is new and I can't believe how confident you are to have a store. I was part owner in a gift store and it certainly sucks up your days. Classes get people buying and returning. Best of luck-what town is the new store going to be in?

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Hi Tammie!

Well, funny you should mention this, as I opened up my Dealership with Oregon Quilting Company in early March.

Things that I know are to take things in stages for your planning. If you choose to have open & set retail hours, be prepared to hire employees.

You could start out to "test the waters" with advance appointments, & modify as you go.

I choose not to compete with my quilt shops with inventory of fabric, notions, quilting supplies or patterns.

I do offer wide backings, & batting & threads.

Perhaps if you know some great teachers that do classes & BOM's you will fuel that need to your LA business.

No doubts that you will be looking into employee's, so be sure to check in with your local businees advisory at a College near you.;)

Business plans at this stage will serve you well.

Let me know if you have questions or concerns etc.

All the best to you Tammie!!:)

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I am confused, are you going to have a regular quilt shop, fabric, notions, classes, or a longarm only shop?

I have to say I don't have experience owning either on a retail level, but I would think if you were doing L/A only, you would have to diversify. Linda is a dealer and goes to shows, so that supplements. Renting the machines is another thought. Own two machines, one a CQ to work while you do something else, like load another quilt or take care of binding, etc. But I know I can't work hard and fast enough and can't charge enough (just me) to pay the rent or mortgage on a retail property.

And if you branch off the other way and do the full service quilt shop, believe me, you will not have time for the L/A. If you do a full service, you would have to segregate the machine, as I know someone who tried this setup (quilt shop and L/A) and she had kids treating it like a jungle jim, customers wanting to watch her quilt their quilt, and she really never had time while the shop was open, so she ended up working many nights after closing to catch up on her quilting. Needless to say she lasted about 2 years and she ended up selling. Now she just L/As out of her home with no ties to when the shop is open, or who's going to work today, and which rep is coming in.

My friends know that I am practical, but thye call me their personal devil's advocate, lol. I don't mean to disuade, you have lots of wonderful enthusiasm, but don't burn yourself out till it's no fun anymore............

The best whichever way the road takes you,

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I have a friend in Tenn that was planning to open a quilt shop. We discussed it and I told her that there are already a couple quilt shops within easy driving distance. She would be better off opening a "quilting" shop because she has few customers working out of her house. If she opened a "quilting" shop, she would then become a "business" and have a better chance of drawing customers.

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I don't want to burst your enthusiasm, but I have to agree with Caron. I used to work for a quilt shop where the owner wanted to do everything for everyone, including longarming. She would not give her employees any responsibility (that is one reason I left) and she became so overwhelmed that it was very hard to continue to work with her.

The shop has taken over her life and just as Caron mentioned, she has to stay after hours just to try to keep up.

I have to say that I love working from home and setting my own hours! I sell fabrics on my website along with the Christening gowns, and now do the lonagarming and I have to say that, that alone keeps me very busy! Have you considered starting out with an online shop and then venturing into a storefront if necessary??

Whatever you decide, just stay focused as you are, and stay in control! Don't let it get the best of you!

Good luck.


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Hi Tammy,

You sure don't mess around!

My father in law just turned 83. He is not one to give advice but the one thing he does bring up is that he wish he would have taken more risks, tried new things, made dreams happen. I like what he said! If anyone can be successful at this it is you!

My advice is to write a business plan. When I started my LA business I took the time to write one and it was so helpful. It makes your goals and expectations so clear. It will also help you plan for situations, illness, vacation plus much more.

One of the most successful Shop owners I know is Gayle Abeloe from Pacific Grove here in CA. She treats her customers and their spouses like it is their home. She treats her employees and teachers wonderfully. She also has a different quilt exhibit every month. It brings in lots of customers and those that don't quilt, some she has turned into quilter's! $$

Enough from me..... keep us posted!


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I own a quilt shop in northern BC. I have my longarm in the store separated from the main shop only by the shelving. I am the only one working in the shop and I have lots of trouble keeping up with everything. I am working on a webstore, and if I can get it going well, I will probably only open locally a couple of days a week.

I would suggest that you choose the part of the business that you really want to keep for yourself and then hire others to do the rest. I have begun hiring contractors for things that can be contracted out such as janitorial, making business cards and stationery, etc. You will be amazed at the amount of time all the little things take.

When we opened shop a year and a half ago we didn't really think it would take as much of my time as it does. Be prepared to work evenings and weekends and any days off you think you should get.

I'm not trying to scare you out of your dream, after all I'm still living mine, ;) just trying to help you see some of the realities so you can hold on once you get it.

Best of luck,


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Good luck to you and keep us posted - how exciting - I agree - don't get burned out - we longarm at home and that keeps us busy (sister and I) 2 10 hours days a week. There was a quilt store in our area that had a long arm in the shop - besides the kids climbing on it - it was very noisy and distracting and people didn't like shopping with the noise. Something else to think about.

Anyway, love your enthusiasm and courage - keep us informed.


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Well I do not plan on competing with the Qshops. I will be strictly Longarm. I will have some retail items. I want to sell gifts for quilters and sewers. I plan to carry Really nice selection of Scissors, thimbles, needle cases and such. Only a small amount. I will carry WIDE Backs and Dream Quilters a small selection. I also plan to sell my Novelty quilts I make myself, Some of my embroidered homemade gift baskets. Again this will be a very small part of my business. Once I see that the potential to grow and fabric and tools would do well I would consider this but I do not see it as of yet. Just focusing on longarming for now. I would like to carry a small selection of some wonderful yarns Hand dyed that could be used on the longarm with the water soluable products for scarfs and such but do not know where to get it right now.

I phoned several Decorators in the area to discuss what needs were out there and I was surprised to find they were excited that I phoned. I am not committing to this step just yet but I am going to visit with a few when I get back from IMQS classes to educate myself on this. I will have different prices for the decorator jobs if I agree to any.

I am in no hurry. I am working on my Business plan now and I have a clear vision of what I expect and although I have high expectations I am also realistic. I will take my time at this. I still have my fulltime job so once I have the property I have much more to do before even opening up. I do hope to have some employees when the time comes.

I have so many ideas running through my head and I just know in my heart that this is going to be a success. I do not know of another longarmer in my area that is taking this in the direction I am hoping to.

Thanks for all your advice. Keep it coming. I need you all to help me keep my feet grounded.

I really appreciate all of you.

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Oh lady, how is it that we are on the same page so many miles from one another?!?!?!

My open date for my shop is June 5th, fitting date being that it is Lillie's birthday and without her this dream of mine wouldn't be happening.

I wish you the best in your endeavor. I know with your determination and will power you will succeed.

Call me.

Love ,

Manda-Grammie's daughter-in-law in Colorado

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