Archive for August, 2010

Excerpt from current newsletter

The following is an article borrowed with permission from the newsletter of an independent yarn shop located in Ohio with a few modifications to bring it home to us.

Only $15.00 per month . . .

It’s happening all over the country. Every day our hearts break as we see another “OUT OF BUSINESS” sign on the door of one of our favorite businesses. A great restaurant, delightful bread store, or especially our favorite yarn shop; here one day and gone the next. This spring and summer two yarn shops in the greater Kansas City area closed as did a small yarn shop in central Kansas. The question asked of me frequently is, “So, how is your business. . . really? Now that I’ve found you, you won’t be closing will you?” To honestly answer your questions, I truly do not know at this point as I may be losing my lease and the current level of sales will not support a shop with a higher rent. Plain and simple. Quite honestly, sales are lower than I anticipated when planning this venture and significantly lower than what is needed for long-term survival of the shop. The last thing I want to do is break your heart . . . and mine, and I’ll do anything to try to keep from closing. Which is why I have information to share with you.

Last year, one of the Ohio shop’s yarn distributors told the shop owner that 3 out of every 5 shops in his territory had closed since September ‘08 and there would probably be more closures. His territory is Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. It includes Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati. He reported this trend happening across the US.

Why Shops Don’t Survive

Customers stop buying. No explanation needed.

Profit margins fall below what is needed to re-stock. Example: a skein of yarn is sold at $10. The first $5 is needed to pay rent, taxes, utilities, salaries (I haven’t taken one yet), advertising, mailing costs, etc. and the remaining $5 is left to re-buy another skein of the same yarn to restock. If the yarn goes on sale, the first $5 still has to pay rent/taxes/etc., and now there is not enough money left to re-buy yarn because it still costs $5. Suddenly there is less to sell, customers get bored or already have it, and stop buying. (Not all “sales” create this condition, but most do, unless the item was greatly discounted at the time the shop purchased it. Additionally, this example uses a 50% profit margin; a couple of my best selling yarns are purchased at 40% and 25% margins.)

The above is a very simplistic explanation and there are things a small shop owner can do to increase the profit margins somewhat, but the two items listed here are the major components to success or failure for retailers.

You Can Save Your Favorite Small Business!

A Minneapolis-based retail consultant explains that if even half of the employed population spent a mere $50 a month at 3 independently-owned establishments (instead of big box/chain stores like WalMart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels), this economy would turn around in the blink of an eye! And those 3 businesses would be saved from closing. That is about $12.00 a week at your 3 favorite independently-owned retailers. Think about what you spend weekly on gourmet coffee, texting charges, or bottled water (ooooh, I just found some money for MORE YARN!).

If every person on Yarn Basket’s mailing list were to spend an average of just $10 a month at the shop, Yarn Basket would survive and be able to move to a different (larger and more expensive) space. At $15 per month the shop would not only survive, but would prosper and be able to offer you more new exciting yarn, great classes, and a wonderful place to come and play and forget the outside world exists for a while! When your fiber need arises, I am hoping you will choose Yarn Basket as your “favorite” shop and that you will continue to support us by: referring your friends, by NOT using photocopied patterns from a friend, and by taking a class or two when they’re offered. It all adds up. Only $15 a month keeps your favorite yarn shop in business for your knitting, crocheting and tatting passions!

I want to thank you all for your most wonderful support over the past three years and acknowledge with extra special thanks those of you who are already shopping at my “prosperity” level but unfortunately those few people can’t support the entire operation. I hope to be here a long time, but I need your patronage in order to do that.

When it gets hot outside — we got the COOL inside! See you all soon!

Location & Hours:

703 N Broadway
Pittsburg, KS


Professional Memberships

A Few of My Favorite Things:

Knitting Lace & Lace Knitting
Crocheting Shawls
Knitting Socks
Stacks of brightly colored dishcloths I've crocheted
Listening to my granddaughter giggle

"When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad."
~ Maria in the Sound of Music

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© Lorene VanBuren and yarnbasket, 2009-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lorene VanBuren and Yarn Basket with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
August 2010
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