Owning a quilting store has some obvious advantages. Where else can you feast your eyes all day long on fabulous fabrics and chat about your favorite hobby with all sorts of other interesting and interested people? But what does one day in the life of this particular quilt store owner entail?
Well, a couple of weeks ago it was a day to travel from Vancouver Island to the mainland to visit Trend-Tex Fabrics Ltd, wholesaler of many popular lines such as Benartex, Cotton + Steel, Hoffman, Michael Miller, Moda, RJR Fabrics, Stof. Most orders are given to the sales reps when they visit but once every few months Alvina likes to visit the warehouse and see what else is available and fill up any holes in the stock.
So, today starts super early. Anyone who lives on Vancouver Island knows that if you don’t catch the first ferry, you are late all the rest of the day. Fortunately we are traveling on a Thursday that is NOT a long weekend.
Waking up at 10 to 5 is painful but that first cup of milky tea helps. Alvina picks up her web assistant in the pitch dark and cold (that’s me). The car has Spicey the dog ready to give a warm greeting and relinquish his front seat to Radiance. Thanks Spicey!
It is just dawn as we arrive at the ferry terminal (inset ferry) and we relax in the car before getting another cup of tea.
The scenery is beautiful as ever and the crossing was easy and on time. We head out to Port Coquitlam. A quick visit to the drive through for coffee (Alvina) and tea and a bagel (me) and we’re ready to go.
The setting is lovely with grass and trees but WOW! We enter the lobby and see several examples of colorful quilts decorating the offices. (photos) I’m excited already and we haven’t even reached the warehouse where all the fabrics are.
Alvina checks in to see how her current orders are faring and then we get a cart (more like a land based barge) and scout the isles for new and interesting fabrics. I’m like the proverbial kid in the candy store. Alvina, having the wiser business head, selects carefully. One big downfall of some store owners is simply buying what they like and not considering their clients likes and dislikes. This can be a real problem. Alvina, having been in the business for years, has a pretty good idea of what will appeal to her customers. If I had my way, we’d have one of everything.
I take charge of the barge/cart and follow Alvina around (see photo) and try not to pick up every bolt in sight. It’s harrrrdddd! We spend several hours in this wonderful way. Alvina kindly lets me have an opinion but fortunately, me being a web designer, does not take my opinions too seriously. LOL
Along the way we look at patterns and kits to see if there’s something new. Alvina selects some kits of a raccoon in batik called the Hoffman Wild 1 Treetop Raccoon Laser Cut Kit. The pattern includes exact layout, just start layering and stitching! Kit includes pattern, fabrics for front and binding. Finished size: 20″ x 30″ These were in a limited edition so they are becoming quite rare. Get one while they last.
Now to tally up and pay. All bolts are laid on the cart, one end out and labels clearly visible to make scanning quicker. (By now I am quite happy to let go of the cart – it is pretty heavy at this point. At least I feel I’m getting my exercise for the day.)
We meet up with Joe who starts to find out which bolts are for sale (some are the last or already spoken for). We are disappointed about a few of the black and white fabrics. We’ve been on a particular hunt for them and some of them are not available. Oh well. There are still lots and lots.
That all takes a while and I can’t resist wandering a bit more and taking photos of all sorts of luscious fabrics. “Look but don’t touch!” I remind myself.
Alvina, being the smart one, has parked the car right by the loading bay and we are able to very easily load up the trunk. Once we’ve done that, I wait in the car with Spicey who seems fairly happy to see me except for having to give up his seat again. (pic of me and Spicey) We sort our things out and head back to Vancouver (for me) and back to the Island for Alvina. She’s home just about 12 hours after leaving in the morning with lots of lovely new things for her customers. Tomorrow is another day that starts about 6:00 a.m.