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Which Craft Shop Do you Choose?

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When you need craft supplies, do you have one store that you prefer over another? Or do you just run to whatever store is closest? Most people probably have a preference, for a lot of different reasons.

Michael’s Crafts, JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and even WalMart have good selections of items for many kinds of crafters. Each store, however, has its own benefits and downsides.

For example, Michael’s and JoAnn’s both accept competitor coupons. Not only do they accept them, but most stores will allow a customer to use multiple coupons in the same transaction! Hobby Lobby only accepts it’s own coupons, and I’ve never seen one for more than 40% off a regular priced item.

Another influencing factor is convenience and customer service. For this reason, Hobby Lobby generally falls to the bottom of my list. I can’t stand that they still key in every price, and the cashiers are expected to remember every item that is on sale that week. I’ve had to make corrections more times than I can count! The lines get long and I am always among many grumbly customers by the time I leave.

A plus for Hobby lobby, however, is their great selection of items. I can walk out of the store with cake decorating supplies, yarn, artwork, and even clothing items- I just bought my son a hat! I can lose hours in many craft stores, but Hobby Lobby certainly has a variety on their list of pros. Michael’s and JoAnn’s have stepped up their home décor offerings recently, but they still can’t hold a candle to Hobby Lobby’s selection.

Whatever store is your favorite, you can bet that you’ll find whatever you need to make your project a success. Happy crafting!

Why is it Important to Shop Small Businesses?

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Can you name the last small business you supported? Was it sometime in the last week? Month? Year? If you can’t, you aren’t alone. But imagine your street, town or city without any of those places. You’d miss them!

There are many movements afoot to get people to shop small and local. Small Business Saturday and Independent We Stand are just two examples of organizations trying to get the word out. But why is shopping small or local important?

The first reason to shop local is to support your local economy. Taxes from businesses in your area go to support your local schools, libraries, streets, etc. Small businesses pay taxes directly into the same pool of money that you do!

In addition, by supporting a small local business, you are helping the owner of that business. They can keep their business running, and also buy the things their family needs, thereby keeping your money in your community. In addition, many small businesses are more likely to give back to the community in the form of service or charity than a large corporation would be.

Customer service is another big pull towards small businesses. A smaller operation with fewer customers and less overhead is more able to help you meet your needs than a big box store would be. Most small business owners want to keep their customers happy by going above and beyond your expectations!

Small businesses also bring in more small businesses! By increasing diversity in their offerings in a successful way, local businesses signal to others that they too can be successful! More entrepreneurs with more offerings increase the small business marketplace, creating opportunities for everyone. By shopping small, you are contributing not only to the proprietor of the business, but to your community as well.

I Just Read Your Feedback

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Have you seen links to humorous Amazon reviews and followed them? They are usually left as jokes on funny products, but are sometimes written as actual feedback for a product that the customer was either extremely happy or dissatisfied with. While we may not take those reviews seriously, actual product reviews and feedback for small businesses on the web are invaluable.

 

In many cases, online feedback is taking the place of “word-of-mouth” recommendations for small businesses. Rather than asking a trusted resource, many people will use a search engine to find what they are looking for and then read the reviews to determine whether or not to trust a business. If there are no reviews, most people will simply move on to the next option.

 

Customers look for information on products, as well as shipping efficiency, communication, and ease of ordering. All of that information is important to evaluate when you are leaving a review. Your reviews don’t need to be long and involved, but make sure you cover the bases of your experience!

 

Feedback and reviews are also an excellent way for a business owner to evaluate their products and customer service. Prior to leaving a negative review, however, you should reach out to the business to attempt to work out your issues. No business wants to see negative feedback and most will go out of their way to try to fix whatever went wrong. Only after attempting to communicate with the business should you leave negative or critical feedback. After receiving reviews, many business owners will reevaluate their offerings to better fit their customer’s needs. In some cases, neutral or negative feedback is all it takes to completely change how a business does things!

 

Leaving feedback for an online business is so important to both the business owner and other potential customers. Reading feedback helps to establish trust and assists the business in bringing in new clients. We appreciate every bit of feedback we receive and will always use it to improve on our offerings.

 

Why Should I Choose Wooden Toys Over Plastic Ones?

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Why Should I Choose Wooden Toys Over Plastic Ones?

When choosing toys for your children, there are many questions that might pop into your head. What will he like? Does it have educational value? Will it be durable enough to last her a long time? Is it safe?

Parents and caregivers are faced with endless choices! One of those choices when choosing playthings is wooden vs. plastic. The material your child’s toys are made of can help answer a lot of those questions.

Have you heard the expression, “They don’t make them like they used to?” Plastic toys tend to be made overseas of cheap materials in order to remain cost effective for the manufacturer. Many times these items break or fall apart and end up in a landfill. Wooden toys, on the other hand, are durable and built to last- not just through one childhood but many!

Many plastic toys also contain harmful chemicals that you certainly don’t want in your child’s mouth! The manufacturing process uses such things as phthalates that can leach out of the plastic. Natural, wooden toys will not have such issues.

Wooden toys are also better for the environment in many ways. The plastic manufacturing process produces chemical waste that has to go somewhere. In addition, since plastic toys are not as durable, they end up as non-recyclable trash that doesn’t break down.

Lastly, wooden toys are more stimulating to the mind. Plastic toys that light up, play music, and generally do all the “work” of play for your child are not engaging their brains. Wooden toys require a child to use their imagination! They are also less distracting than their plastic counterparts, since they don’t stimulate the senses without input from the child.