In a class last week someone asked if I had seen the new Martha Stewart punches. Nope. I rarely go into M's and J's as it is to buy craft stuff and almost never for scrapbooking stuff. I don't have time to and I don't have a reason to — plus their service is so awful! I could go on and on but you get the point ;)

If you've read my blog for the past couple years you might have noticed that I occasionally talk about shopping at local stores. I've listed lots of reasons why. One is in my own self-interest (I'm not gonna lie) because without local stores, I won't have anywhere to teach! Okay, I could still teach online and at my house but it just isn't the same. And I can go on about how you have access to the owner at your LSS, whereas you don't at the box store (Michael's and Joann's + now Target and Walmart)…how you can make special orders and requests at your LSS…how you can meet others and make friends during crops and classes at your LSS…you can take classes from designers IN the industry at your LSS…they order product from smaller manufacturers that would never get picked up by the box stores (I'm loving some of the new smaller stamp companies out there right now)…you get the point.

Anyways, in a recent newsletter from Collective Journey I realized there is another reason to shop your LSS (and any locally owned business): more of the money you spend there STAYS in your LOCAL economy.

Here's a little excerpt from the Collective Journey newsletter last week:

“Shop Local!

It's no surprise these days to see stores closing down. We at Collective Journey are doing everything we can to keep our doors open! We have downsized our store, our staff has had their hours cut, store hours will be changing April 12th, ( we will be closing on Mondays, we will be opening at 11am Tuesday through Friday). We are constantly trying to find more ways to cut expenses, while continuing to bring in the latest and greatest products for you! We proudly support the 3/50 project. A program designed to bring consumer awareness of the benefits of shopping locally owned independent stores. Did you know that when you shop an independent locally owned store, like CJ's, for every $100. you spend $68. goes back into the community? That money comes from taxes paid, payroll, and other expenditures! When you shop a Big Box store only $43. stays local. Be cautious where you spend your money. You may save a buck or two on the Big Box advertised specials, but you may be slowly killing your local economy. And those advertised specials? Sure they are a great deal, but be cautious, because you may make up for what you saved on the higher prices they have on other items! Please support your locally owned stores! Doing so will keep our community's going! Visit the 3/50 project website, and make that commitment to keep your local independent stores going! We thank you so much!”

I don't think you need to be an economist to figure that out but we can all use a reminder, right? And NUMBERS to back statements up are always good in helping illustrate a point. So by saving 40% with your coupon at the box store, 30% less of the money you spend is going back into your local economy. Yikes!

You probably have a friend or neighbor who has been laid off–maybe you've been laid off! And we all feel the pinch these days and need to cut back. I know my scrapping budget is NOTHING like it used to be. So again, 18 months after THIS POST, when everything has gotten much worse than I ever imagined, I ask that you consider shopping locally and ditch the coupons. Consider taking your $5 scrap budget and going to your LSS.

I was talking to a friend on the phone about this the other day, how I fear the LSS is a dying breed. And it makes me sad because without the LSS, I would not know more than half of you (maybe more) who read my blog. I would not have learned all the things I know. I would not have this business. I would not have made as many awesome friends as I have now. We would not be here reading this blog. And I am pretty sure that many of you have an LSS or several to thank for these kinds of things as well.

Now I know some LSSs are cruddy with bad customer service–of course I am not saying to shop somewhere you don't feel welcome or are not comfortable at. But I just hope we can hang on to these last few LSS we have because without them, where are you going to go?

All you're leaving yourself with is the lady at Michael's with the crusty eyelashes who licks your paper as she counts it (you may have heard this story from me at a crop — yuck). And besides that, don't you wanna keep as much of your hard earned dollars in your local economy to help make your roads, schools, store selection, and jobs outlook better? I do. And I don't actually have that choice anymore because our one last store closed last May. So I have to drive almost an hour to Collective Journey (which is a great store, don't get me wrong, but not exactly “local”).

Is that what you want? To be FORCED to take your money out of your economy because you need scrapping supplies and can't find them in your home town? (My M's has the paper licker lady and the J's has a tattooed gangster chick who gives lip every time I checkout so I don't hardly ever go to either).

Hang on to your LSS with all your might and ditch the coupons. Because in the end, you really are not saving any money at all with all the money that leaves your local economy when you shop the box. Now go to your nearest LSS (if you still have one) and shop, crop, and enjoy yourself!

Happy Shopping!!

P.S. The images of stores with closed signs are stores I have taught at that have closed. This isn't all the stores I have taught at that have closed but it gives you a little idea. And for every one of these is 2-3 more that closed that I never got the opportunity to teach at.

Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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11 thoughts on “Why Don’t I Frequent M’s and J’s?

  1. My nearest LSS is over an hour away, so I only go there about twice a year. That is a shame because I would love to attend some of the classes, but it is too far to go for crops.

    Posted on March 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm
  2. We don’t really have LSS in my area of NC (closest thing is an Archivers, which I know is a national chain), but whenever I travel I drag my husband to a few scrapbook shops along the way (like Pink Pineapple when we went to California!). It is really nice to hit these places and find women with a passion for the business they’re running. I wish I had the choice at home :)

    Posted on March 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm
  3. It really sucks to not have a store. We in CA are lucky that we had alot of stores still but for me, the closest LSS is almost an hour away so we are getting closer to the point of not having any at all. I am so sorry that you don’t have any.

    Carrie are you close to Fayetteville? There was an LSS there that I go to when I visit my inlaws. Hope it is still there…

    Posted on March 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm
  4. An important reminder. Our LSS’s are all closed now; I’m not even sure where the nearest one is. Now I’m buying for a local stamping store whenever I can. They don’t have a ton of scrapbook stuff, but they do have a huge variety of stamping stuff, much of it the same as what you’d find in an LSS.

    Posted on March 29, 2010 at 11:09 pm
  5. I live 1 mile from the Pink Pineapple and frequented it but now… my only hope is M’s and I HATE their paper. I think that I will be ordering more online. Boo! Because I like to see it in real life. I try to visit other LSS when I am vacationing somewhere! LOL! I know there are others in SD but nothing as convient as 1 mile. Thanks for this post!

    Posted on March 30, 2010 at 5:20 am
  6. I try to shop local whenever I can. Our LSS’s prices are comparable or even better than M’s.

    Another comment, I just saw your instructions for downloading fonts. WONDERFUL, and simple. I download a Disney font and it took about 2 days for me to find it on my computer. I’ve been nervous about trying that again, but I’ll give it a try. Thanks very much for this info.

    Posted on March 30, 2010 at 8:27 pm
  7. Three scrap stores within 45 minutes of my home closed last year. I have to drive over an hour for two stores that are left, and now I’ve heard that one of them is closing. This stinks! The big box stores don’t carry much of anything. I really miss thumbing through my LSS products. :(

    Posted on March 31, 2010 at 7:47 pm
  8. Hi Jenn, Thought u might like to know that Stamp Your Heart Out in Claremont carries Martha Stewart Punches and goodies and that’s were I buy mine from! :)

    Posted on March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm
  9. Good to know Tammy! Collective Journey sometimes carries the Martha stuff too ;)

    Posted on April 1, 2010 at 3:40 am
  10. Great post, I agree with your comments..

    Posted on April 22, 2010 at 6:53 am