Death of a Craft Shop
The other weekend I needed to get a refill for my Xyron sticker maker, and I toddled out to the nearest bricks and mortar craft store, The Craft Den at Notcutts ( about ten miles away) to get a replacement. Only to find that it had closed.
Sad as this is , I am not surprised. The problem with this particular store was not that it was small. It was small, taking place in a 20 ft by 10ft at most and i think a bit smaller, but Loobicrafts in Leighton Buzzard is smaller, but manages to be better and still thriving.
It could be that it was based inside a garden centre, and was therefore limited by that stores opening times, which wouldn't have helped. It would have benefited from the passing trade, but I think crafting is so much of a destination shop, that that didn't matter. The garden centre in question has got a habit of stopping having concessions in its stores and I don't know if this is the case this time, but I'm reasonably sure it isn't
I have no idea of its reasons for downfall, but despite it being the closest to me, it was my last choice (apart from hobby craft) because it really didn't have the products I wanted to use, and not enough choice. It underlines the importance of product mix. I like the more 'American' style of crafting. I don't do 'toppers'. I'm much more of an altered art than a card maker. I like techniques, but there wasn't enough different types of embellishment or products. There was too much DoCrafts and not enough real crafts.
The Internet is driving down prices, but even though things were sold almost entirely at RRP, I don't think that was the issue. If anything it was more of the other Internet phenomenon, social media, that the store failed at. It wasn't really creating community. It had (And its sister store still doesn't) no Facebook page or twitter account. Its web page isn't for selling, but that doesn't let it down. It was just horribly lack lustre and basic. It doesn't fill you with confidence about the store.
The last issue was a mix of staff and customers. I quite enjoyed the classes I took there, but at thirty something I was quite often the youngest person in the shop, and it felt old. Add this to the fact that whilst most of the staff were lovely, there was one who was just cold and made me feel really uncomfortable so I tried to avoid going there.
Add it all together, it makes for a potent poison that took down what could have been a nice little shop. I should mourn the loss of yet another craft shop, but somehow I can't feel anything but meh. There are better shops out there, and at the end of the day, that is what probably made the difference.