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Pandemic Profits


It’s been 30 months since the pandemic began. How does your business stack up? If your business benefitted from the side-effects of stay-at-home mandates, know that an increase of sales doesn’t equate to an increase of profits. Read on to determine if your increase in sales actually equated to a better business operation.

Gross margin percentage

The first place to start is your gross margin. The gross margin is listed as a percentage on your income statement. Look back for every year back to 2018. How has it changed?

To determine why these changes occurred, go to and use the free “logical profit and loss statement” calculator. Expenses are grouped by category including advertising, payroll, operating expenses, etc. Compare these expenses to your percentage of sales.

If the past 30 months really has made you a better business operator, your gross margin percentage should have remained the same or even increased since pre-pandemic years. Business owners who equate in increase in sales to an increase in profits aren’t seeing the full picture.

Pandemic prices

Another thing to keep in mind is the increase in product price. Do you increase price on the sales floor when new product comes in at a higher price? If you’re selling inventory based on what you paid, you might want to reconsider. Remember, your cost of operating has increased just as the cost of inventory has increased also.

Inspiration for this post came from “Growing Beyond the Pandemic” by Tom Shay published in the August 2022 issues of American Quilt Retailer.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Staying in business through the pandemic


Times may be strange as the world faces a pandemic for the first time in over 100 years, but many people are going to pick up new hobbies with all of this extra time. Quilt retailers across the nation can fill the creative void by providing craft tools in new ways.

Changes to make during a pandemic

Sales don’t have to decrease; you just may have to evaluate how you’re going to get your product to your customer. This may mean making an online store for the first time ever, or offering door-to-door delivery. Consider offering lessons through video conference calls, or create a virtual class through Facebook.

Be sure to let your customers know of your new services through increased marketing. Go live on social media, increase the frequency of your email blasts, and have employees reach out to loyal patrons through phone calls during the downtime in their work day.

And speaking of reaching out, remember the quilt community is the only community some of our customers have. Look into offering classes in public areas (while following social distancing guidelines), or a virtual quilt show.

Evaluate ways to save

Many of you have already had to make tough decisions; like which employees should you keep working and which will you have to layoff (even if it is just temporary).

If you don’t already, now is a great time to look at budgeting apps for your business’s finances. These apps will list what reoccurring payments your business is currently making that you can do without during the pandemic.

Another way to save money is to talk to your credit card holder or mortgage lender to see if your payments can be adjusted. We often view these expenses as fixed, but as the world isn’t operating normally right now, exceptions can likely be made.

Hang in there American Quilt Retailer community. By working together and sharing ideas, we can keep each other afloat.

Inspiration for this post comes from this article written by Gwen Bortner.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.