craft business

Reinventing the LQS to remain competitive

Atlanta is blessed with an abundance of quilt and fabric shops.  Even online retailers like and call the ATL home.  The sewing/quilting landscape has certainly changed over the past 15 years we’ve lived here.

I’ve seen several shops open, close or reinvent themselves. Two of my favorites closed within the past two years. It is a little strange to run into former shop owners now turned customers at my LQS, but that’s the nature of business.  As a customer, it can sometimes be mildly annoying when a shop known for a certain type of fabric and vibe, decides to shift its focus.

Lately, the two shops in the greater metro area that are known to carry “modern” fabric have taken very different paths to reinvent themselves to remain competitive.  One shop still carries a well curated selection of “modern” fabrics, but has also added yarn and other needle crafts to the mix. The other shop has shifted to a more traditional focus and carries a lot more Moda products now. It has scaled back the amount of retail square footage and stopped being a Bernina dealer.  I totally understand the store size and machine dealership changes, but moving to a more traditional focus means this shop is no longer a destination quilt shop for me. I’ll still pop in if I’m in the area or for Shop Hop, but after today’s visit, there’s no need for me to make a special trip as the fabric lines carried no longer meet my needs.

Fortunately, a yarn shop about 45 minutes north decided to add a fabric store across the parking lot from the yarn shop. It carries modern fabric, plus dressmaker fabrics and a great selection of Liberty prints. The shop owner also has classroom space that can be had for $6.00 a day to sit and sew. If I need a sewing mini-retreat day to get away from it all, here’s an option. Inexpensive and I’m not likely to run into anyone I know. There’s also another really cute shop about 90 minutes away near the Alabama state line. When you play hooky, it’s just nice to be anonymous sometimes.

The takeaway is that you need to support your LQS and sewing machine dealers if you want them to stay open.