Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover!

Okay…old saying or library joke~~it’s true.
I’ve thought and thought about how to approach my Yarn Shop reviews. Now, one must remember these are MY opinions. Having worked in a yarn shop in the past and YEARS of customer service experience I base MY opinions on what knowledge I have gained over the years (I used to work as a Mystery Shopper)…so please DON’T yell at me if you don’t like what I have to say. As I mentioned before Cara experienced some flack for voicing her opinion of her LYS. I would hope that if owners or employees of these particular shops read these that maybe it would create some change. My reviews are based on a one-time visit experience…
So here goes:
There are 3 categories in which I will rank each store based on the following; store layout, customer service/friendliness and stock and/or merchandise selection. Each store will be given a ranking between 1-5 stars, 5 being the highest.

On Tuesday last week we visited Knitting in Scottsdale …located in (duh) Scottsdale! (No picture)
Store Layout--**
Customer Service--*
While I was intrigued by their website when initially searching for shops to visit I would have thought this store would have been packed to the gills with fibery goodness. Granted the selection was there, mostly “frou-frou” yarns (which is okay if that's what you are into--I'm not) it was all packed against the walls, there were very few floor displays or what I would consider “eye-catchers” to make me want to buy a particular, even if ordinary, yarn. She did have a good selection of buttons, something hard to find in this area. She also had a lot of pocketbook handles, another hard to find item.
About the customer service…this is a really BIG thing for me. Yes, I was the second customer in the door that morning…I was greeted right away…but when I explained that I was from out of town and had a list of shops to visit in the area---the response was “Oh” and she walked away!? There was an air of “coolness” that left me wondering – what did I do or say wrong? I perused the store looking at all they had to offer…for about 20 minutes and I left, nothing else was said to me. Please don’t get me wrong here, I don’t want to be followed around the store, nor do I want to be ignored…this sounds funny but there should be a happy medium, which as you will see in my later reviews.
What did I buy?


Wednesday was our day trip to the Grand Canyon, which was sidelined by a stop in Sedona at Red Rock Knit Shop

Store Layout--***1/2
Customer Service--****

For a small shop and considering it’s the only shop the neighboring area has this is a GREAT shop! She not only carries yarns of all different kinds, from basic wools to the fancy Blue Heron yarns of Maryland, she also had a small area for weaving materials and some spinning wools…something I never thought I’d find in this sort of climate.
As I said before the shop is small but she’s pack quite a bit of merchandise into every corner! Her button selection was FABULOUS!! She had lots of nice displays of finished garments that made me want to buy more than I did.
As for the customer service?? Well, I have to say my heart was won over by the 18-month son of the owner. What a sweetheart…and a flirt! He could have sold me the moon! The owner’s mother was working that day and was so nice, and helpful.
What did I buy?

This is Greek Cotton, there was a child’s cardigan on display made out of it…don’t you just love the colors?!

and...buttons...With the new g-baby in mind!

On Thursday we drove to Mesa where I found “The Fiber Factory”

Prior to leaving this was the store that I was MOST interested in simply by their name. As I mentioned before spinning supplies are apparently hard to find in Arizona.
They were in the midst of a move and so their stock was almost nonexistent and all they’re spinning & weaving supplies had already been moved to the new location down the block. We drove by there to see what they had set up but could only really see the spinning wheels in the window.
They were having a sale on everything left in the store…but that didn’t leave me with much to choose from. I can’t be really fair in my scoring of this one because of the relocation efforts…so I’ll rate--
Customer Service--****
The storeowner waited on me and was so apologetic at the fact I wouldn’t be there for their Grand Opening this week. For anyone visiting the area…this is a “must visit”! They have so much to offer…I just didn’t get to see it all!
What did I buy?
Merino Lace for my MS3 project! They didn’t have any white or black so I opted for the pale pink.


I’ve saved the BEST for last! (WOW-2 shops in one day!)

Jessica Knits , which was located closest to where we were staying in North Scottsdale.

This store is AWESOME! When we first drove up it had the outer appearance of being a really upscale place, Hubby wanted to go a little ways and take some pictures but I told him that I wasn’t sure how long I would be staying…After entering the store I quickly waved him on and could have stayed there ALL DAY LONG!! Thus where the title of this entry comes from!
Jessica, the storeowner, waited on me…and again was SO nice. The range of fibery goodness was unbelievable…if you couldn’t find something in this store to take home with you…your not a true knitter! I found much more than my pocketbook could handle so I had to settle for a few things. The store was busy and the staff was so helpful to everyone’s needs! I observed new knitters looking for that “step up from scarf knitting” project others needing pattern help…. oh, and the pattern selection—the wall along one entire room with a large table for perusing through the many binders of patterns she had to offer.
Okay…I’ll quick gushing and get to the ratings (but I think you know what they will be);
Store Layout--*****
Customer Service--*****

By far this is the kind of LYS we need! If I could only win the lottery—oh yeah, I need to start playing it first!

What did I buy?

Rowan Calmer (in a color other than turquoise)…more Sock yarn (like I need more)...a cute little Birthday cake tape measure…Addi Turbo Lace circs…Check out the necklace, she had 6 different ones to choose from and I had great difficulty with that task so,

I settled for “Knitting Queen”! (get out those ABBA records...yes, I said "record")

We tried to find a couple small shops one in Jerome, the other in Old Town Scottsdale to no avail...

In closing I must tell you that I don’t take my camera inside the store nor do I tell the employees or owner(s) that I’m a knit blogger unless it comes up. I want an honest and sincere reception when I’m in the store. I don’t take pictures inside the stores because I’m never sure if the owner would get upset…yeah I know I can always ask but this also makes them wonder what I’m up to therefore ruining the “sincerity” I’m looking for.

Now I'll just wait for the hoards of comments blasting me for being mean! Like I said in the beginning...MY opinion!

More pics to come later...

Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!


Mary said...

Well, regarding Cara's situation, I think her commenter over-reacted, and then Cara over-reacted to the commenter, but that's just my opinion. Mountains out of molehills, ya know? I believe a blogger has the right to free speech and if a reader doesn't like it, then they need to move on.

People talk honestly about yarn shops all the time on various knitting forums, which isn't really any different than on a blog, so I don't really see the big deal.

Anyway, I'm glad you had fun sampling the various Arizona yarn shop offerings. If I find myself out there, I will definitely have to re-read your reviews for recommendations! :-)

Sue J. said...

Nice job, Robin. You were fair and honest about your crawl. I, for one, appreciate the info.

Nikki said...

I think you did a fine job reviewing them, Robin! That one lady's response of "oh" and walking away was strange. When I was a very new knitter and went to Ewe Knits and kits in the Virginia Beach area they seemed touched that I wanted to come to their store while I was visiting my aunt...

Anyways, it looks like you got a great haul!

Issy said...

I think shop reviews are very much needed. Especially when they done by real shoppers as opposed to professionals (Knitters Review etc.) So good job.
Hey, I'm in the MS3 too! Funny how we join the same groups!! I'm using a chocolate coloured Cashwool. OMG it's so fine! More like cobweb. I'm a glutton for punishment! Your lace weight looks beautiful.

Jakki said...

Thanks for the reviews. Doubtful that I'll ever get down that way, but have a LYS like Jessica Knits within driving distance of where I live. Sounds like heaven!!

Marianne said...

This is a great review! You stated the weren't mean or cruel at all and I think that's how the 'craziness' begins, but yes, you have done a great job of reviewing and passing great info along to your readers!
Lots of nice 'booty' you got there!

Marianne said...

oh dear, I didn't mean for that to sound quite like that...because Cara isn't mean or cruel either... and of course we can't always know who will get their panties in a bunch, do we.....

oh word verification?

gourdongirl said...

Great reviews. I always love reading about other LYS's, makes me so envious, as my LYS is "acrylic" city!!!!. Having said that there are 3 brilliant ones slightly further afield. Might just have to do a review on them. Yes I will take you to the better ones next year!!!!

Susan said...

Five years ago we honeymooned in Sedona and visited Jerome, the Grand Canyon, and Scottsdale. Your blog entries really make me want to go back -especially now that I know which yarn shops to visit. I appreciate the reviews. They weren't mean, and you don't deserve any heat.

Pam! said...

I think the reviews were great! It makes me want to go West just for that one fabulous shop.
I'm doing MS3 as well but had to work from the stash ... thus the Peacock colored Zephyr instead of something in blackish/whitish. I still need to get some beads ... not waiting until the last minute for that, am I? heh heh

Dana said...

Great reviewing Robin. The crawl sounded like a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the Greek cotton.

Have a great weekend and thank you so much for telling me about David/cyberfyber!

Joan said...

I used to live in Arizona and would go to Fiber Factory often. The people were warm and friendly and the inventory was wonderful. Of course they tax yarn in AZ and not in PA but I managed to spend some money!! There was also one in Carefree but was not as warm and nice. If you weren't going to spend tons of money, you were ignored. No sock yarn either. When I asked about that, the owner said that she could make more on a high end sweater than she could on socks so didn't carry any. Also, this is IMHO as well. Good reviews.