With sewing machine stores closing at an alarming rate, sewing machine owners are getting left high and dry without the classes and service they were promised.
This is HIGH TIME to do your research before purchasing a new sewing machine before you find out the store closes three months later.
We have had a large rash of e-mails from upset people complaining that their sewing machine stores are not keeping up with product training, don’t know how to answer questions on the new machines, or have just closed.
As an industry, sewing machine dealers and quilt shop owners are reaching retirement age. They want to spend time with their grandkids and travel the world just like you. They have the right to close their store when they are done. Don’t get mad if you did not do your research.
So what should you look for from a store before spending $10K + on your next sewing machine?
It’s time to interview your next potential sewing machine retailer!
Here are 10 things you should ask or look for from your dealer BEFORE making a large purchase.
Take a Class
Watch how the staff, teachers, and sewing machine technicians interact with students who have questions during the class. This can help you decide if this store is the right fit for you.
Full Product Range
This is a BIGGY! If a store does not carry the full product line it is sometimes because they are not up-to-date with their training. Sewing machine companies do not allow stores to sell top-of-the-line models if they are not certified to sell or service that machine. Even if you wanted to purchase the machine from that store, they can not order it for you.
Some stores only display 30-40% of the sewing machine line to sell. Is the right machine for you missing? You would never know.
The Staff is Happy to See You
A good dealer has team members excited to be there. They are usually sewists themselves and can’t wait to help you with any sewing questions you might have. (Side note: Remember not all customers are polite. This can take a toll on any salesperson. Always give someone a second chance. You never know who they had to deal with before you.)
The Best Deal is Not Always the Best Deal
If the price seems too good to be true, ask why. What are you not getting with the discounted price? Are you sure you know what you should be getting? Is the machine new or a demo? Has it been refurbished? Could you even tell if it was a refurbished machine? Some stores sell refurbished machines as NEW machines.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet
If all your research is via the Internet, you will never want to buy a machine – EVER! People are more apt to complain online versus sing praises. Those that are enjoying their machine and their sewing machine dealer are not online…THEY ARE HOME SEWING!!!! Get off the Internet and do your own research.
One-on-One Classes VS Group Classes
I have never been a fan of individual or one-on-one classes. The difference is like going to kindergarten verse college. Yes, I can teach you what you need to know to run the machine properly with a one-on-one class. But there is so much more to learn. Group classes open up a conversation, questions asked by others you never know to ask, and much more hands-on experience.
A Current Website
Websites cost money – both to host and to pay someone to keep them updated. Products and class calendars are a great way to learn if a store is investing in the education of its customers. Stores that only have a Facebook page versus stores that have an up-to-date website can be the difference between staying open and going out of business.
What is Included With Your Purchase?
Does the store you are interviewing have a list of everything that is included with a sewing machine purchase? Never assume that just because you think something is included that it will be included. Each store can offer different items to their customers based on their own choosing. Stores are independently owned. Yes, sewing machine manufacturers require their dealers to offer certain items with a sewing machine purchase but they don’t always do a good job policing who does what. Find out before you buy instead of just assuming.
On-Site Service Technician
Or better yet…Technicians! PLURAL! Having a technician and having a certified trained technician is also a big difference. If a store has to send your sewing machine away for service, this should be a big factor. How long you will be without your machine can be a big mystery. A good store that invests in training and certification of their technicians is worth of your business. This should be top of your list when looking for a good dealer.
Knowledgeable Long Term Employees
A good store has team members that have been in the sewing industry more than a year. Tapping into their knowledge base is PRICELESS. They understand the sewing world, they can help with older models, they know which bobbin fits a Bernina 1008 (BTW – a it is standard Bernina CB bobbin), and they can help make sure you purchase the RIGHT machine for the type of sewing you do.
A Good Sewing Machine Retailer Has Used Machines
Whether you like to buy new or used, stores that offer used machines prove that their customers come back to upgrade and get bigger and better machines. Buying a previously owned sewing machine from a good dealer takes the headache out of the equation. Trust me. A store would not sell a used machine if they thought it was going to be a problem. No good store has time for upset customers.
Stop Supporting Stores That Disappoint You
In conclusion, it is not hard to find sewing machine stores that will take care of you. There are many wonderful stores in every state that offers superior service and support. Do your research before you get burned.
Yes, you might need to drive PAST a few stores to get to them, but trust us, the drive is worth it!