This blog post is a little late. . . but I have been on the road!
Last week I had the opportunity to visit a place that I had been before. Believe it or not, the first time I went to Hamilton, MO was in 2014 and I actually left the Missouri Star Quilt Company WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING!!!! I know. It sounds crazy, but it is true. I was just starting to quilt again after a long hiatus and I got overwhelmed. So I walked out.
Now. . . on to this year’s experience. I certainly did NOT walk away without buying anything. I bought at least $50 in most of the shops!!! But I had an ulterior motive for that.
We arrived on Monday the 17th around 2 in the afternoon and rolled into “A Country Charm RV Park”. We did have reservations because you don’t really go anywhere in a 43 foot motorhome without knowing there is a place for you. There were quite a few spots in the park but only 3-4 pull throughs, so I was glad I called ahead. Jerry helped us get parked and happened to notice oil on one of our tires. That resulted in my husband spending his day on Tuesday getting some sort of seal on the tire fixed, but we were so grateful that Jerry noticed and told us! We were probably spared problems down the road- literally!
On Monday afternoon I took the opportunity to wander through ALL the MSQC shops to get the lay of the land to avoid overload. I started in the Main Store where no one spoke to me. We were not off to a good start because I tend to judge a store by their welcome. I went to the Mercantile next where quite a few people were shopping. The employees were focused on a couple and seemed to be ignoring everyone else. (I later discerned that the woman in question is some kind of a manager at MSQC who was shopping with her son who used to be an employee, so that explains the level of attention.) That was a Strike Two and I was feeling kind of depressed.
The moment I stepped into the Floral Shop the employee at the desk greeted me and asked if he could help me. I was very happy that I was experiencing the type of customer service I expect at ANY quilt shop. And to be honest. . . he looked like he would be more comfortable at a gaming convention than a quilt store- but he did his job!
Although I don’t do much with yarn, the Yarn Shop is beautiful and the employee went above and beyond to be warm and welcoming. She almost had me starting a shawl until I remembered how far behind I was on quilting projects! My time in the Yarn Shop really made me feel more like shopping.
I did quick runs through the other shops and was pleased with the level of helpfulness of the employees even when they were faced with a situation out of their control that was awkward. I can’t really say any more about that without revealing someone known having a bad moment, so I wont. We all have bad moments.
On my tours through the shops I noticed some different flannels and had a question about wool flannel so I went back to the Mercantile. This time I was greeted by an employee named Jane who not only answered my questions but was super warm and helpful. Despite the fact that I was NOT buying on Monday, I bought a book about Feed Sacks and Jenny’s autobiography. That is when I learned that if you spend $50 at any one of the stores you get a patch. My goal was set!
Jane was able to fix a couple of issues in my store profile (I was already an online customer) and she told me to go back to the Main Store, find the iPads to check in, and I would get a shoppers card that would streamline the checkout process at each shop. Why nobody in the Main Shop told me this, I don’t know, but they didn’t.
I happily went back to the RV Park. We tried to go to Kathy’s Kitchen for dinner but they were closed for a private event so we drove to Cameron and had a delicious dinner at Dino’s Diner. In fact dinner was so good that we went back for breakfast on Tuesday morning.
That evening I read 4-5 chapters of Jenny’s book before going to bed. There was a lot about her early life that I did not know. I highly recommend the book. It will give you some things to think about and I like knowing the back story of the store’s success.
After breakfast on Tuesday I was ready to shop. I bought something in every shop- except Florals! I didn’t even go in that store. . . not sure why. . . just not feeling floral-y I guess. I also managed to not buy yarn.
I ate lunch at Eggo’s cafe and bought some fudge at Candy Gran Sweet Shop. One of my favorite shops was the new Bag Shop. I am not great at making bags but I love all the findings and let me tell you. . . they had EVERYTHING. There was a Sallie Tomato pattern that I wanted but they were out in the shop. The store employee ordered one from the warehouse for me and in just a couple of hours it was waiting for me at the Main Shop.
There is a leather area in the Bag Shop and I got to do a Make and Take. It was delightful to learn a new technique and make something beautiful. It really filled my creative soul and I was able to make a gift for a friend for Christmas. (I might have to make a separate post about that. . . after Christmas!)
I tried to go to ALL the shops on Main Street and I purchased at most of them. It really is a cute little town! I have discovered that I missed a gem, though. I did not go in the grocery store and I understand they have wooden quilt blocks. I won’t miss them next time I go!
On Jane’s recommendation, my husband and I went to the Missouri Quilt Museum which is NOT part of MSQC but is supported by the town and and MSQC. The admission was $10 but well worth the experience. My favorite display was the toy sewing machines with the mini quilts running a close second.
Here are a couple photos of some of my goodies.
My husband got burgers for us at Kathy’s after my long day of shopping and we ate them in our motor home with my feet propped up. I also finished reading Jenny’s book. Yup. I am a fast reader.
All in all it was a wonderful trip to the Happiest Place for Quilters. I enjoyed the displays: they are real eye candy. I think I will be going back again pretty soon!