I try to frequent my local quilt shops as much as I can. My mom used to own a quilt shop, so I know how much work goes into keeping the doors open. It's not all glamorous fun with lots of time for sewing. In fact, my mom is really excited to actually have time to sew now that she's recently retired and closed her shop.
A few weeks ago, I needed some Kona solids, and I wanted to buy Giucy Giuce's new Quantum line. I know I could have gotten them online for cheaper, but I wanted to do my part to help keep my local shops in business.
The Electric Needle is a shop here in Madison, Wisconsin that started out as only a Pfaff dealership. They expanded, then expanded again, then moved, then expanded some more. They now offer sewing and quilting classes, mostly blender fabrics, lots of wide back fabrics, and most importantly, every Kona solid. Even though I have a Kona color card that I use for color matching and selecting palettes, it's much better to see the whole bolts in person. It's easy to tell if the owner is in the building. She's a rubber duck fanatic, and her car is covered in them! On my latest trip, I bought some Kona solids to round out the palette for my temperature quilt.
The other stop I made recently was to Blue Bar Quilts in Middleton, Wisconsin, on the west side of Madison. Blue Bar is a relatively new shop that carries a lot of the more modern fabric lines. The Madison Modern Quilt Guild currently meets in their large classroom. I knew that she just got the new Giucy Giuce Quantum fabric line in. I wanted to buy a fat quarter bundle for my sister in law who is totally in love with him. I might have also accidentally bought a bundle for myself. Blue Bar was the first shop (besides my mom's shop) that carried my entire line of patterns.
I also shop locally for my pattern printing. I had a few of my very first patterns printed by online companies a few years ago. Although I had no complaints about the quality, I wanted to find a good local printer. I lucked out when I found Dan at Wisconsin Printing. His customer service has been great, and I get the printed items faster than if I order online. On the surface, it seems like Dan's prices are a lot higher than the online places, but when I factor in shipping costs, it's really only about 5% more for my products. And he has more paper choices than the online places, so I'm able to get a higher quality, thicker paper than I would if I ordered online for about the same price. Plus, I get to visit with Sunny, the shop dog. I am sooooo not a dog person, but I love visiting Sunny. She's a big ball of love.
I think it's important to keep my business local, and support other local small business owners where I can. I hope you'll consider shopping local as much as you can!