I have discovered a blog pertaining to cross-stitch(http://www.stitchbitch.blogspot.com/) which I enjoy reading. I no longer stitch cross-stitch and also no longer sell cross-stitch (both ended when we moved to Florida 30 years ago--you can't pay Florida rents with cross-stitch sales, at least not on the "gold coast of Florida".) Anna often has lists of various things on her blog. The lists are, I think, intended to provoke thought. And rightly so. One she had recently was of her favorite cross-stitch stores (her lns) where she mentioned that this one was delightful to be in, that one the owner was aloof, etc. I have a shop in a tourist area. (Especially when we were in Blowing Rock--you become accustomed to being a treat, rather than a necessity to customers). I try to guide my customers when they say "I'm going to Santa Fe--is there a needlepoint shop there?" The TNNA retail listing is a godsend reference for this. I think people should share their feelings about individual shops--"I felt like there was a minimum purchase"; "had a tiny inventory"; "lots of halloween"; etc. I have many people reading this blog. It would be wonderful if you could bring yourself to comment on this issue. The industry needs more openness. Think of it as saving your local needlepoint shop. Think about what makes it "your" shop and why you want it to survive (or not).
I have a male customer who has a marvelous analytical eye (he was a highly successful business consultant before 9/11 decimated the market). I love it when he returns from a business trip, because he has gone to needlepoint shops and "looked" at them. I wish he would do a website critiqueing them because his observations are so right on.
I intend to keep hammering on this topic....why? Because the needlepoint shop is a dying phenomena. Donna of http://www.needleworkernotinparadise/ mentions this in her October 30th blog entry.To keep it from totally disappearing, we must analyze it and discover what we want to preserve about it. Please realize that shop owners are aging as are finishers, with no discernible replacements. Needlepoint shops are closing, and are too expensive to open new profitably. Customers are buying on the internet. That may take the place of the storefront shops, but where are the stitchers going to find finishers? Let's face it, nothing ruins your delight in a finished product than the realization that the finisher wasn't quite up to snuff.