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My Blog

Shopping at Lee Wards

Good morning to all.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  I kept pretty busy painting most of  this weekend.  
Well, today's blog takes me back in time.  I must say that this particular store pops into my mind when I am in search of something to craft with.  Today, I feel that Michael's  and Hobby Lobby are not fulfilling all the needs of a crafter.  I feel that if I had to choose one over the other...the choice would be Hobby Lobby.  One of the biggest downfalls that I feel both stores have are that first, they cater to the average shopper and not the crafter.  They are actually putting crafters out of business with their premade items.  Why should anyone bother to learn or take classes when they have made it easier to just purchase the item already done.  Secondly, it also sells all types of items that you would find in the average gift store.  REALLY...and they call themselves an arts and crafts store.  And my biggest complaint is that the employees and management are clueless about products.  I have had so many confrontations about a product...one in particular that I had just finished demoing for Deco Art themselves.  I went in to search for the product.  When I couldn't find it...I questioned an employee who in turn took me to the manager.  This manager blatantly informed me there was no such product.  REALLY??  I was furious.  If I teach a class, how am I supposed to have a student purchase something when they don't carry it, and better yet, have no idea what I am talking about.  They recently started having classes again.  But to my dismay, upon arriving there after signing up...there was no teacher there.  After some investigating, they discovered that I had signed up....only no one realized it....REALLY??  And then to boot....they didn't carry all the paint needed to actually do the class.  Who ever is running Michael's needs to get a swift kick of reality. 
In days of long ago, we used to have a store called Lee Wards.  One was actually turned into a Michaels now.  The main Lee Wards was located way out in Elgin, Illinois.  I remember taking that long ride out there with my mother.  When you walked into the store you were surrounded with a plethora of crafts.  As a kid, my eyes grew bigger and bigger down every aisle that we walked.  You found everything and anything you could have ever wanted in that store.  So many of us, crafters I mean, wish and dream that it still was around.  Times have really changed.  What you find in your local stores today are quick put together.  There is a limited amount of books there that can actually help you along the way in your craft.  There are so few classes offered to learn things.  I am not talking for children either.  I am talking legitimate classes for adults.  
After I researched the demise of Lee Wards...I realized that they actually formed a merger with Michael's...a Texas based company.  Well, they certainly didn't teach them any of their business savvy.  Lee Wards carried everything.  They hired actual crafters as their employees...therefore, there was always someone available to answer questions about a product or how to answer the questions that were presented when you were having a problem and could offer a solution. 
I will soon be traveling to Texas for a visit and will definitely check out the Texas stores.  I would love to compare them to what we have here.  I know that every one wants in on the trend and so some of the crafts have changed...but if some how....some way....these so called crafts stores don't get on top of the actual artisan crafting end...it will soon disappear.  Most of the well educated people in the field are 50 and older.  Sooner of later...we will be gone and all the handicrafts of yesteryears will be gone. My question would be whether the interest of the public is really lost...or has it been taken away?  Are the now generation really not interested in the fineries of art or are they not aware of them anymore?  Are the attention span of both adults and children so short now that they don't want a project that takes longer than 30 minutes.  It seems to me, that some quality time could be spent together as parent and child learning some of the olden days arts.  I would love to hear comments on this. I would love to know whether I stand alone here? 

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