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Old 02-26-2020, 04:19 PM   #1
Andromeda321
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Default Keepsake Quilting is Gone

I'm not a huge quilter but needed some new needles so swung by Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor... only to discover that they've permanently closed! Probably in the last few weeks, according to this article- https://www.unionleader.com/news/bus...12e733742.html

Even if you weren't into handicrafts, anyone who knows Center Harbor knows that's a huge shift for the community- literally that whole side of the shopping area is now vacant, and I guess the sometimes literally busloads of tourists are no more.

I'll miss it for sure. I never got into quilting anything bigger than a potholder, but did get into needlepoint and cross stitch first through little kits I bought there many years ago. Cross stitch is definitely one of my favorite hobbies now.
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Old 02-26-2020, 05:52 PM   #2
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Very sad.. The family that purchased Keepsake Quilting 2 years ago said they were looking to enhance the local feel and get back to running the business in Center Harbor. The employees were ecstatic; most have been there 20+ years.

Then... the truth as to why they bought the store front; to close it and only sell via their North Carolina warehouse. More money and less work for the new owners.

The store front was always busy and tour busses would stop by on various legs of different trip for tourists.

Shame on the new owners.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rick-kimelman-0aa61a14
https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...e004d5f53.html

https://www.unionleader.com/news/bus...12e733742.html

www.swatchcraft.com
www.pineapplefabrics.com
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:12 PM   #3
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I think the most recent owners gave it a fair shot. The corporation that was running it before them were the real culprits in the downfall IMO. The original folks ran it until about 10(?) years ago and it was sold to a conglomerate. They put the store on autopilot and didn't put any thought thought or heart into it until it had dwindled to a mere shadow of its former self. Selection dropped, prices rose, staff changed, and go figure, business dropped off. They ran patternworks (yarn/knitting sister store) into the ground too.

The most recent owners put a lot of effort into revitalizing the store. They restocked, got knowledgeable staff back, got good supplies in, and dropped prices. They also added in-store events to draw in more customers, and make it more than just a place to buy stuff. They also opened their pre-cut 'pineapple' brand store in the former patternworks space (which seems like a lot of work if they intended to shut it all down...)

Unfortunately, although the store had really improved, I think it was a case of too little too late. The keepsake mailorder business is going to continue I think, but (as mentioned) based out of the current owners' NC operations. Given their options of shutting the whole brand down or salvaging some of their investment by maintaining the catalog business...can't say I blame them.

We've been going there for nearly 30 years, yes it was sad to see them close.

The small quilt shop near Weirs closed last year, now keepsake, there's no quilt/fabric shops left in the lakes region now afaik. The conway sew+vac was for sale a few years ago, I don't know if that's still operating. (And no, the box stores like walmart/hobby lobby/jo-anne don't count as fabric stores)
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patman View Post
I think the most recent owners gave it a fair shot. The corporation that was running it before them were the real culprits in the downfall IMO. The original folks ran it until about 10(?) years ago and it was sold to a conglomerate. They put the store on autopilot and didn't put any thought thought or heart into it until it had dwindled to a mere shadow of its former self. Selection dropped, prices rose, staff changed, and go figure, business dropped off. They ran patternworks (yarn/knitting sister store) into the ground too.

The most recent owners put a lot of effort into revitalizing the store. They restocked, got knowledgeable staff back, got good supplies in, and dropped prices. They also added in-store events to draw in more customers, and make it more than just a place to buy stuff. They also opened their pre-cut 'pineapple' brand store in the former patternworks space (which seems like a lot of work if they intended to shut it all down...)

Unfortunately, although the store had really improved, I think it was a case of too little too late. The keepsake mailorder business is going to continue I think, but (as mentioned) based out of the current owners' NC operations. Given their options of shutting the whole brand down or salvaging some of their investment by maintaining the catalog business...can't say I blame them.

We've been going there for nearly 30 years, yes it was sad to see them close.

The small quilt shop near Weirs closed last year, now keepsake, there's no quilt/fabric shops left in the lakes region now afaik. The conway sew+vac was for sale a few years ago, I don't know if that's still operating. (And no, the box stores like walmart/hobby lobby/jo-anne don't count as fabric stores)


My wife quilts and discussed her sadness when they closed, with that said she visits a small shop named Alley Cat near Ossipee.


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Old 02-27-2020, 03:00 PM   #5
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Generations are changing, I'm honestly surprised stores like this stay in business at all.

I too enjoy being able to walk in and purchase something same day after looking at it in person, but those days are long gone. We live in the order it on amazon and it will be delivered tomorrow world. Order before noon and you'll get it same day in most cities.

I actually sometimes think we will go through a period of mostly online shopping and then at some point in 20 years or so it will revert back to mom and pop stores. A lot of retail stores like Express are closing their retail stores, cutting that overhead out of the equation entirely and with their online sales alone will be doing just fine.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:38 PM   #6
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Well books basically came full circle already- all the big shops closed down, but independent bookstores are now popular again. (Lakes Region is spoiled in that none of the bookstores ever closed.)

I think it's tough these days for hobby stores in general though- I collect stamps for example, and you never see that in a brick and mortar setting any more- it's all online, or maybe a special convention. Quilting is definitely one of those handicrafts without much young blood coming into it too- smaller things like cross stitch and knitting are surprisingly popular, but quilts are definitely an investment in time and money.

Anyway, I doubt something will move in really soon into Center Harbor in so much space, but hope something cool pops up! Right now it seems really empty.
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