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How does your business need to change?

With any life-altering time, our businesses need to change also. We now live in a world of pre-Covid and post-Covid (similar to pre- and post-war). Check out some of the ways your business should consider adjusting (if you haven’t already).

Change in Hours

Have you ever sat in the parking lot of a big box craft or fabric store and watched customers go in during hours you’re closed? If you’re like most business owners, you likely saw a business opportunity.

We get it, it’s impossible to offer as much as those large stores, considering all of their resources. But just because your store hours are convenient to you, doesn’t mean those hours are convenient for your customer base. Consider altering the time your store stays open at half hour increments, and compare your numbers to see if it was the right decision.

Change in Payments

Along with your store hours, you should offer a range of payment forms as well. Yes, you can still accept checks, but you should also upgrade to accepting Apple Pay, too.


Whatever model you were using in 2019 really doesn’t apply anymore when it comes to offering clearances. Wholesalers have reduced their schedule to a quarterly schedule due to the product shortage they faced the majority of last year. Consider decreasing the amount of weekly and monthly sales you offer also.


Since you can’t be open 24/7, look into alternatives to help get you there. Consider adding a chat bot to your website so you can respond to questions at all hours of the day. Or even upgrade your phone service so customers can shoot the store a text with a question they might have.

Inspiration for this post came from “What’s Different?” by Tom Shay published in the June 2021 issue 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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Start a Business Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Networking during a pandemic is difficult. Now is the time to reach out to local business leaders to hear what great ideas they’ve had this year.

Local Advisory Committee

Pool your community for local retailers. The range can be everything from your local pharmacist to the local floor-covering business. The one thing you all have in common is that you pool from the same client base.

A breakfast meeting on alternating months is a great start to handle the logistics aspect of creating an advisory board. As for meeting quality, take turns hosting the meeting. If content ideas are running low, brainstorm hot topics during one of your sessions.

Leave time at the close of meetings for members to share how the ideas helped them (or didn’t help). And if ideas do start to run low, consider making a book list consisting of leadership and self help titles.

Quilt Market Buddy

Similar to a community advisory board, do you have an advisor for quilt markets? If you don’t, make a friend at the next in-person market. This could be someone you see frequently, and start with a simple introduction. The best advisor you could find is someone in a similar, but not necessarily the same, business as yourself.

Go out for coffee, and determine what vendors are on each other’s lists. Agree to meet up at agreed-upon times throughout market, and share the promotional information you gather. As this relationship develops, you could even attend meetings you, or your advisor sets up.

Inspiration for this post came from “You Dont’ Know What You Don’t Know,” by Tom Shay published in the October 2020 issue 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.