Monday, June 13, 2011

Stitch Night

Our last group get together was fun in many ways but a little bit sad at the same time, too.  You see, the shop that introduced us to each other closed its doors last week.

The little shop's story isn't unique.  I know that many of you have lost your shops over the years.  Heck, our region used to support at least six cross stitch shops.  You could find a shop if you lived north, south, east or west of Pittsburgh. Even my little nearby town of about 14,000 citizens boasted a craft shop with a modest selection of stitching merchandise.  Now only one shop remains in the entire region.

There are any number of reasons why a shop may close, and this little shop had its own share of challenges.  But I think we have a tendency to get pessimistic about our craft when we see a shop close.  We worry that our art is dying.  Well, I'm not so sure about that.

I think it's less about the art and more about the changes and shifts in the retail world.  Many of our little shop's struggles weren't unique to the needlework industry.  Small businesses everywhere, particularly independent retail businesses, are struggling.  (In this space I've deleted a long rant about everything plaguing independent retail businesses in today's economy.  You really don't want me to go there.)  So I'm not surprised that our shop closed.  But that doesn't mean that the owner wasn't successful, because I think there are many definitions of success.

You see, in a perfect world, someone would open a shop, run it until he or she was ready to retire and then sell it at a profit.  In the current retail environment, it's just not happening.  So in today's business climate, if you can work at something that you love for several years and manage your business despite not having control over many things, then you are certainly a success.  And if you can introduce other people to your passion and bring people from many walks of life together to celebrate this passion, then you are not only successful, but you are endeared to them forever.

We wish our little shop owner the best of luck in whatever she does in the future.


  1. You're right. Independent retail is being hit far too hard. And, in the end she was successful at putting you all together. Hopefully, that's enough to "retire" on.

  2. It is very sad. Even less of them over in the UK. x

  3. Right on, Lee. My shop closed a year ago the end of the month. The economic conditions just don't support this type of business endeavor. Still hasn't dampened my stitching obsession,just have to find other ways to feed my addition. Hopefully, eventually the tide will swing back and needlework stores will become more prevalent.


  4. I'm sorry that your little shop closed. The owner was a success because she did endear many to our craft.

    Gone are the days of little "boutique" craft stores and needlework shops. Where I live there used to be many shops selling handmade crafts and there were at least a half dozen craft shows 2x a year starting in late October and going into late December. Not any more. There's only one show now. We have one LNS who is barely hanging on and no more cute, little shops selling handcrafted goods. Even the knitting shop is struggling and that craft is popular right now.
    I miss the 80's and 90's when there were these little businesses. It's too bad that the economy will not support them.

  5. It is so sad when these little shops close. I have not had one near me in years. I so miss going to the shop to see the stitched models and visit with the shop owner and other stitchers. Online shopping offers so much but not the personal touch that we all love.

  6. On the I-77 corridor in Ohio there isn't a shop south of Akron. Oh, you have Jo-Ann's and Pat Catan's but not a real LNS.

    Sorry your shop had to close. Hope you can find another to run to.

  7. Sorry that your shop closed! It's like loosing a friend! We used to have to many of them around here. Now there are two but quite a distance to travel to. At least there are the on-line shops, but it's just the same thing. You want to see and feel everything - it's part of the whole experience.

  8. I too like the personal touch - So sorry the shop is closing -

  9. As Hazel mentioned it's the same here in the UK - there are so few needlework shops left. The interesting thing is that I've just recently gone back to knitting and also giving crochet a go and I'm finding a lot more wool shops. Also the internet (which has transformed our lives) has given us a much bigger choice and I think this is at the heart of the matter.

  10. How sad. I know every now and then I have a mini panic that my craft will disappear and I load up on enough stuff to keep me busy for two lifetimes!

  11. I am sorry your shop had to close. Not only is the economy putting pressure on small businesses it is a segment considered to be discretionary. That is for those on tight budgets they may no longer have the money to support their hobby with new purchases but are probably relying on their stash to see them through tough times. Also with the advent of the Internet many will look to see if they can get what they need for less by shopping online. We lost one of our shops this past year. I frequent my LNS as often as I can afford but each project takes a great deal of time and my stash is already exceeding my life expectancy. Hopefully, we will find ways to interest more people in stitching which will help support those still in business. Sylvia

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