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Looking for ideas how to improve My Favorite Quilt Shop

Have you ever entered the shop and said to yourself - - - "I wish the walls were painted purple" or "It sure would be nice if they had more fabric".

Now is your chance to share your thoughts... we would like to improve the shop for on-site customers, on-line shoppers, and staff.

Please submit your idea’s to make improvements using the form below.

Any one who makes a suggestion, and that suggestion is implemented will receive a $25 gift card for My Favorite Quilt Shop

Parameters:

  • Must be done with limited funds – we operate on a very tight budget.
  • Must be possible – do not suggest adding more space to the building or moving to a different location.  
  • Must be possible with current staff – unless you’d like to volunteer to implement and maintain the improvement – my current staff must be able to do it within their current working hours.


Here are a few ideas we are working on …. (please do not suggest one of these idea’s – they are not available to receive a $25 gift card).

  •  Eliminate “Yard Card” punch cards – track all purchases for each customer within the system.
  •  "Punch card" system for Panel purchases – purchase 10 panels, get the 11th one free.
  •  "Punch card" system for Villa Rosa Patterns purchases – receive a storage book with the purchase of 10th pattern. 

Here are a few ideas that have been implemented…

  • Replaced  door “knobs” with “handles” – to aide customers with difficulties turning door knobs.
  •  Track purchases by customer to assist with repurchases of fabrics.
  •  More precuts – we now carry more 2 1/2" strips, 5" charms, 10" layer cakes, fat quarter sets, 3 yard bundles and other precut options.
  •  Better lighting and Entry Door Alert system
  •  Email notifications of NEW FABRIC ARRIVALS (instead of doing newsletters.)
  •  Block of the month programs. This year we offered Zephyr.  I currently have programs planned for 2025 and 2026.


Idea’s that ARE NOT options…

  •  Classes – I’ve replaced “classes” with “one-on-one assistance” as needed.
  •  Long Arm Machine Rental – this has been discontinued.
  •  Retreats - I've organized and managed retreats for over 10 years.  They are a lot of work and expensive - I no longer have the desire to do it. 

Thank you everyone.  It's impossible for any one person to think of everything.  Your collective ideas will continue to improve My Favorite Quilt Shop and really make it YOUR FAVORITE QUILT SHOP.

Improvement Idea - Suggestion


Thank you for the great response…
I am thrilled with the response to my solicitation for improvements (March 8, 2024).
I am also honored everyone cares so much and is willing to make suggestions.

 

Here is a detailed response to the suggestions I have received so far.

    •   Suggestion:  Kits - offer more kits
      • Action:  This one is tricky for me. I may need some help to learn what kind of kits my shoppers are looking for. I’ve offered many kits through the years with very little sales success. The response(s) to the kits I have offered are: “wrong size - too big, too small”, “wrong color “, “wrong pattern”, “wrong fabric”. I have minimized the number of kits I offer and have opted to help customers design their own quilts. By doing this I don’t have my fabrics cut up into kits that don’t sell. Thus keeping the fabric available to everyone who may need it in another project.

         

         

      • Suggestion: Spread things out : Restage fabric Shelving : Brighten and Reorganize

        • Action: I’ve dealt with this issue since day 1 of owning the shop. When I purchased the shop the displays were horrible and unsafe. The current shelving has been purchased from other shops that have closed. I am limited by the amount and configuration of space I have in the building. One suggestion was to use the “old long arm room” for more retail display space. I would love to do this - however - this is the only space I have to use as work space for preparing for quilt shows, this is where all the deliveries are dropped off and new fabrics are unboxed and prepped for sale.

        • My only solution to “spread things out” and “restage fabric” is to reduce the amount of inventory (fabric, notions, patterns, batting).

          • This involves 2 solutions: 1) sell more fabric and 2) purchase less inventory. If I sell enough fabric, I could eliminate some shelving units and make enough space for easier wheel chair and walker access.

        • The other solution that is already available …. my entire inventory can be viewed and purchased on my website www.favoritequiltshop.com.

        • It was suggested to paint the walls - this is impossible because the paint smell would saturate the fabrics.

        • I’ve modified the lighting in the building three times. New lighting is VERY expensive. Outside my budget.  If anyone knows someone who would like to install new lighting for under $1000 - I will be willing to entertain the option.

          Suggestion: More Options - carry more thread, rulers, notions, ribbons, yarn

           

          My concern is I've added products requested by customers, then the product doesn't sell - examples:  wool, toweling, purse & bag hardware, buttons, glow in the dark thread, different types of rulers.  Now this inventory is sitting here taking up space and took money away from the budget I could have spent on something else.
        •  
          • This also contradicts other suggestions of making more space and making the shop more organized and accessible.

          • If I were to act on this suggestion, I would need to know more about what people are looking for. There are thousands of options available - I simply can not afford to purchase notions and not sell them.

             

      • Suggestion: Coat Rack

        • I love this idea - the only thing preventing the installation of a coat rack is lack of space.

        • If you need to discard your jacket, it can be placed in the front room (where the long arm is located).  MFQS staff will not be responsible for your property. 

           

      • Suggestion: Highlight new fabric - New Collections Display

        • I’ve thought about this since day 1. Here are the reasons I have not implemented a “New Collections Display”

          • Space and Time - it takes time to create displays. When new fabrics come into the shop - many collections come at the same time. It’s more efficient to find a place to display the fabric and display it with other similar fabrics. This brings awareness to fabrics that have been here and may not have been noticed.

          • Until about a year ago, I would mark all the new fabrics with “New Arrival” tags. The date the fabric arrived would be written on the tag. This process became time consuming because we had to add the tag to the fabric upon arrival and go around the shop and remove the tags when we determined they were no longer “New Arrivals”. The fabric racks became very cluttered with the tags. I received feedback about that.

          • A solution has been in place is on my website. A tab named “Recent Arrivals”. Located in this tab are the new products that arrived within last month.

          • A solution I implements March 13, 2024 - I created a “new arrivals” wall. I print a collage of each new group of fabrics and display it on the wall. Stop by and check it out. (Estela - stop by and pickup your $25 gift card any time).

             

      • Suggestion: Dehumidifier - Fresh Air

        • Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention!!!

        • The smell comes from the preservatives used in the manufacturing and preservation of fabric and the fact the building is old and is built on a cement slab - no basement for air circulation.

          • A few months ago I acted on a similar comment made by a customer, I installed a couple of air purifiers and set out dishes of baking soda under the fabric shelves.

          • I don’t want to install “scented air fresheners”. This simply masks the smell with a stronger smell - which may offend shoppers sense of smell.

          • I don’t want to install dehumidifiers because of the additional work they would require to keep the water tanks empty.

          • I would like to open the windows, however, when the outside of the building was painted, the windows were painted shut and are not able to be opened.

          • I will continue to research other options to minimize the smell in the shop.  However, I have become accustom to the smell of the shop and don't smell what some call a musty smell.

             

      • Suggestion: Enhance the entrance area - Driveway and Parking Lot Potholes

        • This is another issue I have struggled with since the beginning.

          • The potholes in the driveway were repaired October 2023

          • The exterior has been modified over the years by removal of the shrubs, and old lamp posts. New plants have been planted in the landscaping and each year I purchase hanging plants to be hung by the entrance door. The awnings have been modified from the art gallery to the quilt shop. The sunken walkway to the back entrance door has be raised. The walkway to the front entrance way has sunken and needs to be raised. I have tried to hire someone to do this - but I haven’t been able to get anyone to do it.

          • My time at the shop can either be outside or inside. I have chosen to spend time inside assisting customers and doing what needs to be done to “run the shop”. I will accept any help anyone is willing to offer to do the yard work: weeding, pruning, mowing, snow removal, etc… I would really like to paint new parking lines, but this would require the business next door to split the cost or help do it because we share the parking lot.

             

      • Suggestion: Different sales to attract more customers - Senior Double Punch days - mark clearance fabrics to $9 per yard.

        • Let’s start with the clearance fabric pricing - the clearance fabrics have been priced at $9 per yard for approximately 2 years. During shop hops they have been as low as $5 per yard.

        • We have tried many different sale events to attract customers: Shop Hops 2 times per year, Christmas in July, Panel Palooza, The Cat’s Away Sale, coupons in the Country Register, End of year - End of bolt sale, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, VIQ program, Wisconsin State Shop Hop, Row by Row. I have kept my prices at a lower than industry level and offer a generous punch card program. I’m not convinced “Senior Double Punch days” would be any more effective than what I currently offer.   I am open to input on this subject.
      • Suggestion: Move the shop to Florida
        • Response - what a wonderful compliment!  Unfortunately - the commute would be too expensive. 

      • Suggestion: Knock out some walls - make shop look larger
        • I've thought about doing this, I even drew out a floor plan what the shop would look like.  Quickly realized if I take out walls, I need to redo flooring, ceiling and electrical work.  It's a very dusty/dirty process and I have no way to protect all the current inventory during construction.  I would loose wall space where I display shop samples, notions and patterns.  I would have to redo shelving to match the new open concept.  Ultimately - this would be a VERY expensive change. 

      • I am so sorry this got so lengthy - I wanted to address everyone’s suggestions.

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