So, prepare yourself to see this bigger sized gal heave up onto her soap box......now.
I have long been a proponent of our smaller stamp and scrap stores. Do I shop at the big box stores....um, yes I do however, I appreciate the unique and wonderful treasures that are not always feasible for a larger, more "broad brush" type place to shelve. I tend to spend more of my dinero at the smaller places on random hard to find things than the common stuff I can easily find in the big stores. It a kin to looking for boutique handmade type items at Wal-Mart, does not happen. I buy the cool things at the small stores and the Tide or something at the big store. Both serve their purpose.
So what happens when there are no more little boutiques dotting the landscape? The world becomes a bit duller and the spectrum a bit more condensed. You no longer have those fantastic rich hues you'd find in the big box of coloring crayons rather, you have the small standard 8 pack of colors...catch my drift here. I know that the big box stores are cheaper, that they have better sales, and the lure of the 40% coupon but, think about this long and hard, where do they have to scrimp and save to make all that available to you? They pick manufacturers that can produce mass quantities at the cheapest prices not the ones who make small batches of handmade things. Do you want your art to look like everyone else's, your paper selection be reduced to only those manufacturers who caught the eye of a buyer or who could get their costs down enough to earn a spot on the shelves? I am not for a minute discounting the fact that big box stores are fun places to shop- I shop frequently and enjoy every minute of it however, I am saying, you as a consumer CANNOT expect a small store with limited resources to compete on the same level that they do. You cannot demand that they honor others coupons, that they keep the same stuff on their shelves (because it costs them more to do so- they pay a higher price because their volume is lower), and that they have one of everything. Collectively, we need to embrace the smaller stores and support the fact that they are unique and have different items available and, be willing to pay a bit extra for that service.....I say service because it takes a lot to bring unique things into a store. A lot of time and expense goes into research and travel to find those hard to find items. And, having folks who actually know how to use those unique items comes with a cost as well.... Sure you can buy a Cricut for cheap online or via the television but, who is going to teach you how to take care of it and all the cool things it can do? Someone who plays with it daily and is passionate about it.....Folks, let me tell you, if a small store is willing to make the investment to buy something to take up valuable space on their shelves, something made them giddy- something sparked an interest and got those wheels in their head turning.... their own personal muse was inspired, you have got to believe that they are going to want to share that inspiration with you.
So here is the gist here, what happens when we lose a small store? A group of customers is left without a place to create, a place to be inspired, a place to have fellowship with other self-proclaimed addicts. Our whole industry suffers. These people are no longer surrounded by folks giving them the 1-800-justify to buy this or that or to try out this new technique or that cool lay-out..... no, they tend to buy less overall and move onto different hobbies and even the big box stores begin to take notice. I have seen many stores quietly exit this year, some have been more painful than others to accept because they were my *home* stores. Today, I got word that one of my favorite stores in Michigan is closing. Scrap Tales has always been a destination- sporting well over 12,000 square feet of incredible stuff to get all giddy and dream delusions of grandeur about, it has welcomed some of industry's finest to teach.....go check out the stairwell to see their signatures!
Scrap Tales will be closing on June 1st. I hope that folks get a chance to go over there to say goodbye to Sandy and Linda and the gang- they are going to be missed in a HUGE way!