Monday, May 1, 2017

You don’t get kisses online

Did you know that Always In Stitches has small packs of Hershey’s Kisses ready to give to all those wonderful, chauffeurs and bag carriers that don’t stitch but wait so patiently as their partners wander the shop? There was some talk at a recent staff meeting about what our brick-and-mortar shop offers that online retailers can’t, and we all laughed when Debra said, “You don’t get kisses online.”

But it’s true. And then we realized a lot of other truths about things Always In Stitches can do as a small local shop that big retailers can’t. We thought Small Business Week (May 1-5) was a good time to remind you.

See the vibrant colors
Walk in the door and the first thing most everyone notices is the rainbow of colors displayed from the front to the back and at every stopping point in between. When you choose your fiber here, you know what colors your project will comprise. Photos are very good online, but colors aren’t always what you expect when you open the box.

Feel the fiber’s hand
Petting the fabric or yarn is therapeutic. Rubbing your computer or phone screen just isn’t the same. You can’t tell if it’s silky, soft, nubby, or smooth.

Get advice and help
Anyone who sports an apron here is always willing to help you coordinate colors, be your sounding board and help you calculate how much of anything you need. Have you ever seen a button on an online shopping cart labeled “Hey Ruth (or Betty or Donna), What do you think about…”?

Make friends
Customers have developed friendships with other customers, as well as with the staff. They ask each other how their family is doing, how that project turned out and if they have a good recipe for vegetable soup. Online sites develop buying histories that are used to sell your email address and create pop-ups on your screen (usually appearing at the most annoying times). You’re our friend. If we have your email, we also have your back. We will use your address judiciously and never, ever give it or sell it to anyone. Pinky swear.

Trust the quality
Sometimes fabric sold online is exactly like fabric we sell. Other times the largest online retailers carry similar fabrics with lower thread counts and dyes that don't hold their color over the long term. Using that material, the heirloom quilt you hoped your great-great-grandchildren would cherish someday may start shredding or fading in three years. We want your projects to last. We won’t sell you inferior goods.

Make returns without extra charges
To protect all of our valued fiber-buying customers, we must be careful about what items we can let you return, but we never, ever charge restocking fees..

We value you
We’re a small, independent business. We feel we stock what our customers want and need, what they appreciate and trust. Our orders are often small so our vendors can’t give us the price breaks big online retailers enjoy. We keep our profit margins as low as we can to still pay our bills and we offer customer rewards - $10 when you accumulate $350 in purchases, a free charm when you spend $100 in a month, and more. Sometimes, we just give you something extra because we feel like it (or because Lyneen is working the register). But bottom line, we usually can’t meet or beat an online price.

It’s the price of doing business – something we feel blessed to have done with you for nearly a decade, something we want to be doing with you for years to come, something we hope you value today.

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