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Old 01-04-2013, 07:17 AM   #1
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Default There's no getting away from the Internet...

I was going through my emails this morning and there was a "Shoppe Announcement" from our last surviving LSS. Their announcements are usually for upcoming classes, sales, etc. This one was different...

They are closing their doors for good on February 16th. The economy was cited as the reason, but I'm confident that it's more than that. Brick-and-mortar stores just cannot compete with online stores, which don't have nearly the overhead. They don't have to pay rent for a building, they don't have to pay utilities, they don't have to pay someone to physically be there just in case someone wanders in to buy, etc.


The plethora of online shopping sites and the HUGE variety of items available have converted most (if not all) of us into online shoppers. I love seeing things "up close and personal" as much as the next person, but the chain stores (Michael's, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc.) carry such limited stock that once you've seen it, you've seen it ALL!


I know that there have been other threads about this same issue, but I just wanted to lament the passing of "the last store standing" in our area...
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:50 AM   #2
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I know what you mean. I belong to a craft group at my church. We me et monthly and take turns being the hostess/demonstrators. When it was my friend and my turn, we organized a mini-shop hop. This was Oct 2010. Another member gave me a list so I called 10-12 places and only half were still in business and since then only one is still open. The one that is still open is within walking distance from me so I try to steer business to the store. She claims to be on only scrapbook store with our city's address. (400,000 pop) My friend and I have scheduled several of our months meetings at the store at $6.00/person to rent the space or in purchases and no one has objected. Sad state of affairs!!!

I, too, like to see products 'in person' that I am thinking of purchasing because when you look online you can't always gauge the color, size or how a tool actually works.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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Default If you love your LSS ...

It is always sad when a locally-owned shop closes, for whatever reason.

Internet vendors do need to have product storage space and some form of business machines, pay general expenses as well as help, whether family members or employees. Some are located in homes, but many are in warehouses that donít require the attractive shelving and display areas of a locally-owned small business.

Those of us who exclusively use home-shopping products such as Stampin' Up!, A Muse Studio, and Close to My Heart, are ultimately contributing to the demise of locally-owned businesses.

We take our coupons to the big box stores to save money on some things, but weíre not supporting the local shop in doing that, either.

If we want the locally-owned shops to survive, we have to buy things there, take classes there, order items through them, and talk them up to others. We may pay a little more, or occasionally wait longer than two days to receive an item, but we would be supporting the locally-owned businesses that we say we donít want to go away.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:11 AM   #4
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The last locally owned shop in my town went out of business several years ago. I WAS sad when they closed, but in the end, I don't miss them. While they were open, I hardly ever went. I did find a dentist close to one of the shops, specifically so I would visit that one store at least twice a year. It was a 40 minute drive to that one. I still have that dentist, but that store is gone. All the stores were too far away from me. I almost never buy from the direct marketing companies (SU!, CTMH, etc.) but I do 99% of my stamping shopping online.

edited to add: One other thing that locally-owned stores can not compete with: free (and quick) shipping. I detest driving, so that is always an issue. I like it when things come to my doorstep, instead of me going to get it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:21 AM   #5
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Where I live there is nothing near me. I have to drive over an hour just to get to Hobby Lobby. I was very sad when the local store closed. On-line shopping is nice, but it doesn't compare to holding the product in your hand and seeing it in real life.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:27 AM   #6
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Here's another contributing factor that just occurred to me: those of us who have been stamping/scrapping for quite some time usually have MORE than enough, so - unless something "new" is SPECTACULAR - there's not a lot of incentive to buy it. I wandered around the LSS that I mentioned in my original post quite a few times without handing over any money before I left... Of course, I'm in major "purge" mode right now, so NOTHING is tempting!
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:45 PM   #7
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I, too, miss having a good store nearby. At one time we had a Roberts and they had a fantastic assortment of papers, I could get lost in those isles forever! Then they closed and about a year later we got a Joanns with one sad isle of paper that is WAY overpriced. Paper is the one thing that I like to touch and sort through...everything else I can deal with online just fine I suppose.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:08 PM   #8
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I, too, would rather shop in a store than online. Online is nice, no lines, more selection, and quicker. However, there's just something about standing in Hobby Lobby and being overwhelmed by all the stuff that I like. It's also very hard to shop online for items like markers and paper, even stamps are sometimes bigger/smaller than they look. I don't like to wait for shipping either. I feel bad for all of you who have to drive so far. I'm just 30 minutes from, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, Michaels, and Joann.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzgurl View Post
Here's another contributing factor that just occurred to me: those of us who have been stamping/scrapping for quite some time usually have MORE than enough, so - unless something "new" is SPECTACULAR - there's not a lot of incentive to buy it. I wandered around the LSS that I mentioned in my original post quite a few times without handing over any money before I left... Of course, I'm in major "purge" mode right now, so NOTHING is tempting!
I received that email, too, and it is so sad! Since I'm at least 40 mins. from that shoppe I only went there two or three times a year. I always bought something there not always because I needed it but because I wanted to support a local shop and felt like I had to. Since I've been stamping for about five years I probably have bought enough stuff to fill that store and truly don't need anything except adhesive. I, too, am finding that there really isn't much that is truly new, different, and spectacular.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Unfortunately, it's happening a lot lately, in different specialty, luxury industries. Horse tack stores are struggling a lot. People will go in, try on riding clothes, then go home and order online because it's cheaper. When you're talking about $100 items, it's pretty easy to justify saving 15 or 20%. Unfortunately, if the trend continues, you will not have the option of the local vendors.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:01 PM   #11
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my local lss closed for inventory from december 21st until january 2nd... PRIME SHOPPING TIME for teachers that were off from school. what the heck were they thinking closing for 10 days right at christmas. i had 3 presents i was going to buy from them - gift cards for friends that i had to go to hobby lobby for - i really didn't want to - but i ran out of time...

sometimes our local stores shoot their ownselves in the feet.... (is this even proper grammer?! lol)
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:47 PM   #12
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I am always sad to hear of a local store closing. I've lived in NC for 7 years now, and by the time I thought to look around for some locally owned crafty stores, all but one was closed. The "big three" ( Michael's, Hobby Lobby and AC Moore ) are about 15 minutes from my house and within 5 mins. of each other depending on traffic.

Like others have said, I visited this locally owned store once or twice but their selection was small and not to my tastes. However; I felt like I "had" to buy something so I bought 3 Copics ( at full retail price of $6.00 each! ). After those few visits I stopped going because I knew there was nothing there for me. And when I decided to expand my Copic collection, I shopped online at Oozak like many of you for the better price.

Now, I hardly buy anything but adhesive at the "big three". The selection of stamps is stale. I swear, my local Michael's has had the same 4 Tim Holtz stamp sets for YEARS. Never anything new from his collections. I have found some variety and expansion of inventory in the 6 x 6 paper pads so I splurged a little before Christmas. But I have craft money to spend from "Santa" and I am doing all my spending online. That's the only place I can find the variety and selection I want. Oh...I may buy one or two things from my local SU demo, I can ALWAYS find something in the catty to buy and I enjoy going to her house for group stamping so to me I'm paying for the social time as well as the supplies.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:33 AM   #13
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Even over here in the UK the story is the same. I agree its lovely to see stuff up close & personal, BUT, the trade off for that is that the prices are going to be higher, and they may not necessarily have exactly what you want. I go once or twice a year to an event called Hobbycrafts, its in 3 or 4 locations, twice a year, spring & just before Christmas. Its held in big Exhibition centres. This way, I get to see whats new, what I might like, get some show deal prices, but I can go home & buy later online knowng what it looks like. We have had one or two small local stores over the years reasonably close to me, but the emphasis is on small. In at least one, I've been in 9-12 months apart, and they had the same dozen or so wood mount stamps on the shelf! Like many of us, I work full time, I don't drive, so would have to get Hubby to take me to a better known store. It would take most of the day up getting there, browsing & coming back. So a whole day gone, plus I would have to wait for the weekend to make the trip. I can come in from work, browse the net while I have a coffee, order and know I will get it a couple of days later. There really is no contest. But it isn't only craft stores, really. I shop where I can get the best value/what I want, and that is rarely a small local store. I remember 10 or so years ago, this was the complaint from small corner shops, that they were going to be put out of business by the superstores.Some did go, some survived, and I suppose it will be the same for craft stores.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:18 AM   #14
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We only have one LSS in my large city. That LSS is world renown so I don't really consider it a LSS. I do shop there. I am thinking of taking some classes or going to crops.

I would love to have a local rubber stamp store. I hear about one and then it seems like one week later it's out of business. I know this is not a popular stamping area. I would definitely go all the time just to know other stampers and take classes.

When I was younger. I used to show at a local music store that sold records, cds & tapes. I live in a college town. I would go several times a week just to hang out with all the music aficionados. I made so many life long friendships at the store.

My bookstores are local. I do shop at B&N for magazines. I just love to go into local book stores and be around people who love books as much as I do. They want to talk about books.

My game store is actually a franchise but it's small and all the employees are serious gamers. DH & I go every week and hang out to talk about games. I have gotten some great opportunities in the gaming world because of it.

It does break my heart to hear local stores closing. I would love to have a few local craft stores to hang out at, take classes and just be around women and men who love stamps as much as I do.

I really love small stores. I get so overwhelmed in bigger stores. They wear me out shopping in them too. I shop in a large store I don't spend a lot of money. Get me in my DH in a smaller store and we drop a lot of money. We are just more relaxed and have a better time.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzgurl View Post
Here's another contributing factor that just occurred to me: those of us who have been stamping/scrapping for quite some time usually have MORE than enough, so - unless something "new" is SPECTACULAR - there's not a lot of incentive to buy it. I wandered around the LSS that I mentioned in my original post quite a few times without handing over any money before I left... Of course, I'm in major "purge" mode right now, so NOTHING is tempting!
I think you really hit on something here.

The last time I went to the "big city" with A's coupons in hand, the only thing I bought was a big pack of cardstock and lots of pearls (I was totally out and I like to use pearls on cards). That's it! No pretty paper, no ribbon, no twine...nothing. I think having a super well stocked room has tempered my desire to shop much. I didn't even pick up a 6 by 6 paper pad, and ya'll know how much I love those!

But back to your topic....We, too, are losing a scrapbook store. It's sad, but their service was less than spectacular, so that may have contributed to it along with the economy/online shopping.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:50 AM   #16
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I'm lucky to have some excellent stamp/scrap stores near me. Many stores have closed over the years but the survivors still have customers because:
1. well stocked shelves, constant stream of new stuff
2. classes, make-n-takes, demos constantly
3. owner stay up on what's new and desired and have a presence at local shows and CHA
4. friendly help that make customers feel like family
5. up-to-date websites and emails to customers

I'm sure it's hard but it must be worth it to stay in business and I do spend money in their stores!
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:13 AM   #17
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The one next to my workplace is closing this month. It's more like an outlet than a standard scrapbooking store. She said that the bills were piling up and that she'd rather be home with her kids. There were mountains of DP for cheap. I can only use so much at once and managed to go in every 2 months. There is one left that I know of still close to my work, but they carry score tape and bazzill paper. My 2 standards I use a lot of, so hopefully they'll be there a while.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:16 AM   #18
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Let's face it. Some store owners are just not good business people. That is true for online store owners and brick and mortar store owners as well. It's all about customer service these days. If you are not going out of your way to provide an outstanding shopping experience for the customer, then you are losing out.

I'm one of the rare people that prefers online shopping these days. I love an online store that lets me keep items in my shopping cart for extended periods. That way, I'm putting thought into what I want and need, and not making impulse purchases. And with the price of gas, I'd prefer to have it shipped to my home. When the box comes, it's like getting a present just for me!

Stores tend to overwhelm me to the point where I leave with nothing.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:51 PM   #19
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Mary Rose - you make a good point when you say that some store owners are not good business people, and also that customer service can be an issue, but neither of these is true for this particular store. They were WONDERFUL people who treated you like you were their best friend, come to pay a call, whenever you walked into the store. They had a full schedule of classes (some were taught be Cari Fennel of Prima fame - she lives local) and new stuff all of the time. Their prices averaged about 35 to 50 cents higher per item than most online stores I've seen, but I figured that with shipping it probably worked out to be about the same...

I think that their biggest problem was location - they were well off the beaten path in a tiny town between more populated areas. It wasn't that far out - 20-40 minutes for most people - but I know that I had to have another reason to head out that way (or a real yen for the touchy-feely experience). I'll miss the people more than the store...
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:39 PM   #20
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I totally understand, Sue.

Brick & mortar paper-crafty stores are history here, with the exception of national chains. Thank goodness for those, too! I love "touchy feely" when it comes to my paper crafting wishes ... nothing compares. I've ordered paper pads, flowers, and even a couple of markers online that didn't even come close to my hopes or expectations. But online returns are basically a loss with postage costs, so I've hung on to the useable items with a big fat frown on my face. And for sure, the bulk of my purchases are now online due to the chain store limitations and infrequent product updating.

My excitement comes when the scrapbook & crafty conventions pass through ... Oh happy day! Touchy feely, maybe a sweet meetup with another Texas stamper or former stampy student, brands that aren't available at the local chains .... it's all a delight! We've got a couple coming up here in N. Texas this month, and I'm ready!
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:35 PM   #21
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I was really sad when my LSS closed too. I loved to go in there and buy a few sheets of paper, or a few yards of ribbon for a special project. I went there once or twice a month, but spent only a few dollars each visit.

I actually think that was part of the problem -- they had mostly lower cost items and not enough volume to cover their overhead.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:05 AM   #22
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Gregzgurl, I think thats a major problem for most stores over here-- location. High St rent/rates prices are too high for them to maintain for long, and out of town locations minimise footfall to those who can travel.
Lutheran, those are exactly the points that make the people who stay in business over here! They have good, up to date websites, good stock availability, they 'do' all the shows up & down the country,they know their stuff, and have great customer service.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:06 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Let's face it. Some store owners are just not good business people. That is true for online store owners and brick and mortar store owners as well. It's all about customer service these days. If you are not going out of your way to provide an outstanding shopping experience for the customer, then you are losing out.

I'm one of the rare people that prefers online shopping these days. I love an online store that lets me keep items in my shopping cart for extended periods. That way, I'm putting thought into what I want and need, and not making impulse purchases. And with the price of gas, I'd prefer to have it shipped to my home. When the box comes, it's like getting a present just for me!

Stores tend to overwhelm me to the point where I leave with nothing.
I agree with you 100%. Given a choice I will choose online shopping anyday, anytime. I got over wringing my hands when all the bookstores started closing. So - I jumped on the Amazon bus and never looked back. I do virtually all of my holiday and gift shopping there. When it's my birthday or mothers day - you guessed it - all I want are Amazon gift cards. I can buy everything from computers to glue there.

Papercrafting is such a marginal niche to try to make a business out of. Here in Akron, Ohio we've never really had many LSS's to begin with. Archivers, but that's just another big paper box - and wayyyyy over priced. So, I guess I don't miss what I never really had. And in truth, I wouldn't make the trip even if we did have one.

Quilt shops are also fast disappearing. Fabric is much trickier to buy online than stamps and paper. And a much bigger financial loss if you don't like what you ordered. But still ..... it can be done.

Music shops - that's another dying breed. Finding a good music store with classical sheet music and REAL musical instruments is getting rare indeed. So, again, I've bought my guitars online, music online and even the occasional Irish Flute. My piano I've had since I was a kid.

I still go to Joanns and Michals (refuse to shop Hobby Lobby!) and I'll roam around for awhile. But like the OP stated - once you've seen it all, you've really seen it all.

So I go to the grocery store. That's about it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:44 AM   #24
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Completely agree with you,sewnmachine. We have always done a lot of shopping online, but apart from grocery shopping, we did everything online this Christmas.I'd rather sit at my pc with a cup of coffee and browse, than spend hours walking around shops, and often still not find what I want.
I suppose the other point too is that online trading has opened up a world of possibilities for those who want an income, or secondary income, but still want to be able to be at home for the children.No childminders to find/pay, no worries in school holidays, or when the kids are sick.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by sewnmachine View Post
I agree with you 100%. Given a choice I will choose online shopping anyday, anytime. I got over wringing my hands when all the bookstores started closing. So - I jumped on the Amazon bus and never looked back. I do virtually all of my holiday and gift shopping there. When it's my birthday or mothers day - you guessed it - all I want are Amazon gift cards. I can buy everything from computers to glue there.

Papercrafting is such a marginal niche to try to make a business out of. Here in Akron, Ohio we've never really had many LSS's to begin with. Archivers, but that's just another big paper box - and wayyyyy over priced. So, I guess I don't miss what I never really had. And in truth, I wouldn't make the trip even if we did have one.

Quilt shops are also fast disappearing. Fabric is much trickier to buy online than stamps and paper. And a much bigger financial loss if you don't like what you ordered. But still ..... it can be done.

Music shops - that's another dying breed. Finding a good music store with classical sheet music and REAL musical instruments is getting rare indeed. So, again, I've bought my guitars online, music online and even the occasional Irish Flute. My piano I've had since I was a kid.

I still go to Joanns and Michals (refuse to shop Hobby Lobby!) and I'll roam around for awhile. But like the OP stated - once you've seen it all, you've really seen it all.

So I go to the grocery store. That's about it.
If you're in Akron you can go to the Adventures in Stamping convention at the end of April! Adventures In Stamping - Home It's always the weekend of my birthday so I ask for cash so I can go and feed my addiction! LOL. The first few years I went Tim Holtz was at the Stampers Anonymous booth but he hasn't been there the last two years. There are all kinds of companies there that I had never heard of, and also things to see in person before I buy online. They don't seem to have a lot of Hero Arts stuff though, and that is my new favorite company. I did order some HA from an LSS in Ravenna to try to support them, but Ravenna is still kind of far for me to just pop in to browse. I feel bad because I would like to support them, but it is much cheaper and more efficient for me to order things online and have them sent directly to my house than it is to go to the LSS and place the order only to have to drive back and pick it up.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:02 AM   #26
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The one thing I do LOVE about the LLS is the classes, one of the LLS here has some really good classes. They also do make and takes BUT most of those are during the day and not after work. I think they miss people by stopping at 3:30. I always bought something on a day I came in to do a make and take. Customer service and class teachers make a big difference. The LLS I use the most also has an online presence which I am sure helps with the overhead.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:04 PM   #27
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There is a scrapbook superstore in Sevierville TN. Many years ago, I'd go to this store 4-6 times a year. So much eye candy! There was a 50% area next door. I shopped there for paper, stamps and stickers. I liked being able to see all the different items. Due to health problems I now shop online 99% of the time. If you ever go to the Great Smoky mountains be sure to stop by that store. And there is a area for your grumpy man(men) to sit and watch tv while you shop.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by CluelesslyCreative View Post
I, too, would rather shop in a store than online. Online is nice, no lines, more selection, and quicker. However, there's just something about standing in Hobby Lobby and being overwhelmed by all the stuff that I like. It's also very hard to shop online for items like markers and paper, even stamps are sometimes bigger/smaller than they look. I don't like to wait for shipping either. I feel bad for all of you who have to drive so far. I'm just 30 minutes from, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, Michaels, and Joann.
Don't know where you're located in NC, but if it's within driving distance to Winston-Salem, there's an absolutely marvelous store in Lewisville (about 5 mins away from Winston on Hwy 421 N.) It's called "The Enchanted Cottage" and I still remember how I felt when I first stepped into that store: I felt like I'd died and gone to Heaven! At the time I lived over 4 hours away and made a special trip to visit my family in order to visit the store. Now I'm only an hour away and I go by every chance I get. It's a cardmaker's and scrapbooker's dream come true. They have all the "new" stuff, and I could spend hours there... no, wait, I HAVE spent hours there. It is housed in an old mill, and goodies are stashed in every nook and cranny imaginable. The service is superb; I have often had questions, and the staff never hesitate to stop what they're doing, not only helping me find product, but in a lot of cases, show me how to use it. There are so many card design boards hung, with so many terrific ideas, you'll find yourself putting things in your basket you never knew you wanted. And the section with the Memory Box and poppystamp dies... it's to die for (pun intended).

If you're ever able to go, allow yourself extra time. You're gonna need it! The name is perfect because it certainly is "Enchanting."
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:08 AM   #29
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I just realized that this thread is about *my* LSS. Sorry to see them go.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:04 PM   #30
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We live in a bedroom community out of town and years before the internet I did mail order shopping. Now with gas prices up, etc, I've switched to online shopping. I have limited stores in my area and what box stores I do have are smaller than normal due to city regulations and take months to update or fill in their stock.

We have one scrapbook store in another nearby town, but it's tiny, dark, no stamps, ribbon or paper packs, extremely limited selection of embellishments and the stock is always the same. I buy chipboard there and that's it. She makes her money on scrapbook classes. As a card maker, that doesn't interest me.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:16 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by uncbballfan View Post
Don't know where you're located in NC, but if it's within driving distance to Winston-Salem, there's an absolutely marvelous store in Lewisville (about 5 mins away from Winston on Hwy 421 N.) It's called "The Enchanted Cottage" and I still remember how I felt when I first stepped into that store: I felt like I'd died and gone to Heaven! At the time I lived over 4 hours away and made a special trip to visit my family in order to visit the store. Now I'm only an hour away and I go by every chance I get. It's a cardmaker's and scrapbooker's dream come true. They have all the "new" stuff, and I could spend hours there... no, wait, I HAVE spent hours there. It is housed in an old mill, and goodies are stashed in every nook and cranny imaginable. The service is superb; I have often had questions, and the staff never hesitate to stop what they're doing, not only helping me find product, but in a lot of cases, show me how to use it. There are so many card design boards hung, with so many terrific ideas, you'll find yourself putting things in your basket you never knew you wanted. And the section with the Memory Box and poppystamp dies... it's to die for (pun intended).

If you're ever able to go, allow yourself extra time. You're gonna need it! The name is perfect because it certainly is "Enchanting."
That sounds amazing! Sadly, I'm closer to the Wilmington area. After Mapquesting it appears to be 4hrs away. However, If I'm ever up that way I'll be sure to stop in. It's probably best I don't live near there. I'd buy to much!
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:41 AM   #32
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As the owners of a very small bricks and mortar store we are experiencing all the issues highlighted by your thread - increasing overheads, fewer customers prepared to travel to the store as often as in the past (fuel costs!), competition from the 'big boys' (Hobbycraft, The Range) even though they are more expensive than us, online competition & competition from direct sales (Stampin' Up) who don't have the same level of overheads as us
(£5 sq ft storage space, if any, compared with £17 sq ft retail space!), and of course the general malaise in the economy.

That said, the sector we trade in is all about leisure time and spending, both reducing commodities in most peoples lives, therefore precious. If we don't offer the experience customers are looking for why should they spend their hard earned cash with us. Life is moving at an ever faster pace and the internet has brought a speed, width and depth of information and purchasing power no small store can compete with, but you can pick your fight and try to be the best you can in the niche you carve for yourself.

When we first started our business almost 10 years ago you could drive to around six other independent craft stores within 20-30 minutes so we had to pick our fight to survive and grow. I am an addicted stamper whether on paper,fabric, mixed media or journals so we stuck to that groove and tried to stock product lines not already available in our area. We are now one of two independent craft stores left in the area, we are definitely the stampy, inky, painty one and the other store is a craft & gift store more into cardmaking and scrapbooking. I try very hard to avoid stocking lines stocked by the other craft store or the 'big boys' as customers will only make the effort to visit if you are offering something new, different or not otherwise readily available.

We are very fortunate to have a small loyal customer base who visit the store and come to workshops and it is actually that small but regular cashflow that sustains small stores. We have to exhibit at around 15 specialist shows a year to survive but, we have a wonderful Design Team and are growing our blogs and online offering too. So, we are looking forward to another year with lots of new workshops, ideas to share and lush new products in the pipeline following CHA.

But, in the back of our minds we know that unless something gives, it may have to be our last as we too are coming round to the thought that unless wholesalers offer margins to retailers that are reflective of their overheads ie lower margins to those working from home with no other overheads than to bricks and mortar stores in retail premises to help level the playing field, we cannot compete and like many of our past colleagues it may be time to hang up the closed sign and move on to pastures new.

Maybe the demand for small independent stores has been superceded by the convenience and wider product offering of the internet, times change and so must we.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:10 AM   #33
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Our local art shop that carried papers and stamps closed also. Hobby Lobby opened within a few stores of where they were. They offered classes and often we would buy stamps or papers for the projects we made. Never left without buying something. Now one of the teachers has opened her own on line store and gives workshops highlighting some of the products she sells. Michaels Jo Anns and Hobby Lobby are 35 minutes away from here and unless I'm taking a workshop I'm getting conservative on gas so do a lot on line. Inventory is spotty in the big box stores and who wants to buy three bottles of stickles when you only want one of the colors? Same for Alcohol Inks and lots of luck getting reinkers through Big Box stores. The stamp pad selection is also bad at all three stores.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:09 AM   #34
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Wow. From the plethora of comments, I'd say plenty of people have an interest in LSS. Thank you, Gregzgurl for reminding us all again the importance of shopping locally! Your comment struck a chord with me. Let me state up front that I am an independent bookstore owner. My husband and I own our shop because we LOVE books and we LOVE providing a SERVICE to others. We are not getting rich. Far from it. Whether you're a fan of internet shopping - mostly due to free shipping - or the preference to never leave your home, we all make choices. Please consider that when you think you're getting a bargain (free shipping) you really are not. Are you paying the sales tax? Usually not, unless it is an in-state purchase. Are you then reporting sales taxes not paid? Doubtful. No one does. Consider your purchasing choices - I understand due to where we live, there may not be many choices - but, if we all made a decision to purchase a portion of our goods from independent retailers, might not the impact be grand?! I'd love to see it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:10 AM   #35
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Kudos to you for mentioning it and your lamenting the loss of a local store!!!! I commented in greater detail in the thread.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:24 AM   #36
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Snazzy, here is hoping your store continues with great success. I live in a small rural community and have always had to plan a shopping day. But this is usually done with my mom and lunch and we make every stop we can at any place carrying paper and stamps.

The only dedicated store we have is "A" and it is 78 miles from my home - so needless to say
I shop mainly from the internet but once a month go there to relax and enjoy our shopping experience. And on vacation whereever we go, I always look to see if they have a lss.

So here's wishing you the very best for this yr.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:44 AM   #37
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I live in KY but I love one stamp store in Poway in San Diego that I always go to when visiting my children there. It is just as you said, well-stocked with the latest items and has friendly, efficient clerks. There is one store about 30 minutes from me in KY, but it is mostly for scrapbookers with very few stamps.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:52 AM   #38
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I was going through my emails this morning and there was a "Shoppe Announcement" from our last surviving LSS. Their announcements are usually for upcoming classes, sales, etc. This one was different...

They are closing their doors for good on February 16th. The economy was cited as the reason, but I'm confident that it's more than that. Brick-and-mortar stores just cannot compete with online stores, which don't have nearly the overhead. They don't have to pay rent for a building, they don't have to pay utilities, they don't have to pay someone to physically be there just in case someone wanders in to buy, etc.


The plethora of online shopping sites and the HUGE variety of items available have converted most (if not all) of us into online shoppers. I love seeing things "up close and personal" as much as the next person, but the chain stores (Michael's, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc.) carry such limited stock that once you've seen it, you've seen it ALL!


I know that there have been other threads about this same issue, but I just wanted to lament the passing of "the last store standing" in our area...
Hi Sue! LTNS! I have a LSS that is thriving-however, this year it seems they have really-really kicked up the notch on promotions! But if anyone is on the east coast Absolutely Everything, Topsfield, MA is worth the trip--people come from all over and buy tons of stuff at once...they are also on line but there is nothing like seeing it in a store--they take special orders too...picking up a stamp from them today which I ordered last week! (It was cheaper than on line and no shipping costs!) Yeay! I will shop on line too--ya just have to and I do the price comparison thing via Amazon and Bizrate...
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:58 AM   #39
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I, too, do a lot of shopping on line in all catagories. We don't always have a great selection in our area but why fight the traffic etc to drive to, from and around the Milwaukee area over an hour away. I belong to a SUp group that meets once a month. Of course, I'm never going to spend much but once there and you get to see, feel and use the products, you find lots of stuff you can't live without!
In the same strain, we were on vacation and stopped in Nashville, Indiana (what a great shopping experience for arts, crafts and decorating!!) Went into a stamp store and fell in love. You get to see the stamps AND what you can produce with them. They were so helpful with ideas and even printed instructions. I had to pry myself out of there.
Another great store in Wisconsin is in downtown LaCrosse. Plan to spend a lot of time, etc.
So, I guess, as much on line shopping as I do, I still love going to a stamping store and lose myself for a while. Also, there is no stamp store near our area except Hobby Lobby and JoAnnes - not the same! A local scrapbooking store (I don't do scrapbooks) is great for products and ideas but not stamps.

Last edited by snowowl; 01-09-2013 at 06:02 AM.. Reason: adding a thought
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:22 AM   #40
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Our last LSS was owned by a good friend of mine. The shop was in her basement and she was open any time a customer wanted. "Just call" was her motto. She also offered FREE classes where the student was provided everything but adhesive (she stopped providing that when her tape runners disappeared after each class) to complete 3 cards. I taught a lot of her classes and folks would come, take the class and leave without spending a penny. She had a few folks who would come to classes and then tell everyone else where they could shop online to get the items cheaper.

Needless to say, she closed her shop! The nearest LSS is 45 minutes away and it is one that never updates inventory. My shopping is online nowadays. I miss the store though.
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