Need to know for 2021




Need to know:
CANCELLED - The Palm Grove quilt show scheduled for February 2021
CANCELLED - The DWR class and Attic Windows classes scheduled for January

Covid has forever changed the way people do business.  Retail was already on track to change but the virus simply hastened what was inevitable.  Our business has changed dramatically and we have been making adjustments throughout 2020 to reflect the change.  Fortunately we are a small business, not a large conglomerate, and are able to adapt quickly.

So here is what you will NOT SEE at Alma Sues in 2021:
1.  Surcharge added when buying with a credit card.  It's a big push now from the merchant providers promising free fees to stores - what they don't tell you is that the cc fee is bundled into a purchase and added on to your total.  So check your receipts.  Alma Sue's will continue to pay all credit card fees.  You will be charged only the amount shown on your receipt for product purchased.

2.  Facebook live presentations.  Sorry, we can't compete with QVC!  Many are too long and boring and rely on your impulse buying.  Beware of phrases that get your adrenaline flowing, like "only a few left get yours now", "selling like hot cakes," "a limited few produced".....you get the picture.

3.  Block of the month program.  Don't like many of the patterns and excessive  administrative record keeping.  There are plenty out there for your choice. 

4.  Online classes.  Hundreds of YouTube videos and free virtual classes.  Nope, don't have time to create another class and don't believe its fair to charge full price as though it was an in-house class.

5.  In house classes.  Future sessions will be held the Carlisle Conference Center

What we will continue to do is:
1.  Give the best value and keep prices reasonable.
2.  Stock those wonderful blenders and background fabrics.
3.  Provide free batting and thread when machine quilting your top.
4.  Help you with all things quilt related; fabric selection, solving a pattern hurdle, special orders for fabric, etc.

Some Changes Coming in 2021
We along with many retail shops found ourselves overwhelmed with online sales.  That being said, we are in a position where we need HELP!  Looking for someone to pick and ship orders from online sales, handle returns, refunds, etc.  The ideal person is detail-oriented and comfortable with a computer keyboard, printer, and intuitive software programs.  Knowledge of fabric, notions and quilts desirable but not required.  Willing to learn how to add inventory online to several selling platforms.  Work around your own time schedule; shipping can occur any day, any time, as long as it is within 2 business days.  NOT looking for a marketing degree background.  This area is growing by leaps and bounds and the possibilities for the right person are endless.  If interested, contact Ella at EllaMillerToy@aol.com, or call the shop at 941-330-0993.

At this time we will continue with retail hours of 3 days a week from 10-3 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).  Numerous customers already know we are in the store almost daily quilting, sewing, shipping, etc.  We welcome private shopping on the days we are not officially open.  Some of you call ahead to see if we are there, others just stop in on Friday or Saturday.  The West side double doors are usually locked at 3 pm, so just enter through the East single door, where the cars are parked if someone is working in the store.  Although we are not open on Saturday, we plan to hold outdoor events about once a month.  

We are also looking for retail help on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10-3.  Teresa is busy juggling and training on the two longarm machines.  Dena is attached to the sewing machine with all the custom orders, other staff is busy cutting fabric to fill internet orders.  The retail person will cut fabric for customers, assist in cutting fabric to fill internet orders, and help to cut fabric for kits.  A knowledge and love of fabric and quilts is preferable.  The 15 hours in the week can be split between more than one person.  If interested, contact Ella at EllaMillerToy@aol.com or call the shop at 941-330-0993.  

Don't be alarmed when you see us downsizing the retail this year.  We don't plan on going anywhere, just making adjustments to accommodate those online and quilting services that are expanding.  Our buying habits have changed:  when there is a hero product selling online we purchase dozens of bolts of the same fabric instead of buying one bolt of dozens of different prints.  One example:  The Riley Blake red truck panel - we have gone through at least 45 bolts of that one so far and sales are still strong.  I think every man had a red truck, at least my father and brothers did.  The basics stock and widebacks will not change because we need them for our custom orders.  Targeted for downsizing are embroidery items, books, patterns, and notions. 

Ok, here is a date for the Saturday open door sale in February. 
February 10, 11, 12, 13 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
Although the Palm Grove quilt show and sale is cancelled, we plan to carry on that week with an outdoor sale.  Anyone wishing to set us a space to sell their goods is welcome.  I suspect there will be quite a bit of traffic from those folks coming for the Palm Grove sale and not knowing it has been cancelled.  We plan to downsize many of our notions, books, patterns, revive our annual scrap sale, and more Fibber McGee clean out!    Call 941-330-0993 to reserve a space.

Here's to a healthy and happy New Year.  Be smart.  Stay safe.

Ella at Alma Sue's Quilts