But shopping for fabric - that is a different thing altogether. It's a little overwhelming to walk into a building with four floors of fabrics, plus notions, and crates full of batting and remnants sold by the pound. It took a bit of getting used to, but I'm beginning to know where to look for certain items. And I'm learning to remember to bring a specific list with me, and cross things off when I either find them or see them and decide I don't need them. Most important is having Rick with me, for he remembers where we've already been and what we're looking for on a certain floor.
I will shop for my customers at the warehouse if what they need is what I could also sell in my shop. If they want just a few yards of a certain fabric, and I have to buy at least 7 or 10 yards, it has to be something I believe others will want to buy as well. And it will have to be in combination with other fabric and notion shopping for our own business, because there is a minimum purchase amount for each shopping trip. I'll talk with customers as they visit the shop and invite them to search the warehouse on-line catalog for notions, threads and such, and perhaps a bolt of fabric that we can split.
Rick and I may, in time, be comfortable ordering by telephone or email from Pembroke and having fabrics shipped to us. Right now, when we go down and buy several bolts of fabric we think we are saving a lot on shipping cost. We estimated, using the federal mileage reimbursement figure, that each time we travel down to the warehouse we are using about sixty dollars in reimbursement or deductible terms. Until I'm able to purchase fabrics without touching them or holding them side by side, we'll continue to shop in person. A day on the highway with Rick is always a pleasant day, capped off with a brownie and lunch on the way home.
We plan on running the Quilters' Quarters and Wooden Toy and Gift for the next few decades; the characters in my new mystery series, Helen and Henry, are foreshadowing folks whom Rick and I might become in time. It's like writing a script of what we'd like our future to look like. And when something is written down, it's not forgotten and can become a road map of where we want to be. That's a powerful feeling!