Are you one of the lucky ones with a Jo-Ann's "large format" store in your neighborhood? (photo provided by Jo-Ann's)
Note: On March 12 I wrote about my frustration with the tired and disheveled retail establishment that is my local Jo-Ann's. The post caught the eye of Leigh-Anne Dennison, a member of Jo-Ann's marketing staff, and I told her I'd be happy to feature a response from Jo-Ann's here on LindsayTSews.com. While what follows from Leigh-Anne is a little more corporately sanitized than I'd like, I take it as a positive sign of Jo-Ann's willingness to participate in an online dialog with its customers. Feel free to leave comments here for Leigh-Anne and Jo-Ann's.
What’s in store for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores? Just Ask Jo-Ann
By Leigh-Anne Dennison
The following is a response to Lindsay T’s post, In Which I Rant About the Difficulties of Buying a Pattern at Jo-Ann's, that applauds the best and laments the worst of Jo-Ann store conditions.
An introduction seems in order to start. My name is Leigh-Anne, and I am the content specialist for Joann.com. Among my responsibilities at Joann.com is writing the Jo-Ann Blog. I was thrilled when Lindsay asked Jo-Ann to contribute a guest post to her blog to talk about our stores, warts and all, as they say.
My first draft was an inspired piece about my personal addiction to fabric, fiber and food crafting. A confessional of sorts filled with creativity and puns written by an obsessive member of the DIY community who also just so happens to work for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. Of course, while full of wit, it was also a little too full of me – not so much Jo-Ann. So a second draft was penned or typed to be more precise. That version was more cut-and-dry (emphasis on the dry). It focused on disseminating the information about our history and growth, store openings, supporting community demographics, blah blah blah. You get the idea and probably would’ve stopped reading it by now.
Hopefully, this post – like a well-executed watercolor – is a beautiful blending of the humor of the first draft and the necessary details of the second to inform (and possibly entertain) you – Lindsay’s audience – by telling you know what you can expect from Jo-Ann via a quick peak behind the curtain.
As you may have read online or in one of our press releases, Jo-Ann plans to open 19 new stores this year; to-date we’ve opened 8. Some may include a consolidation of small-format stores in adjacent communities into a single, more efficient, bright, shiny and new large-format store. Not only do our large-format stores offer an expanded selection of merchandise, they contain more inspiration, are better organized and include a space for classes and crafting socials; socials being a trend as old as quilting bees and as new, hip and happening as the knitting meet-ups that are popping up across the country.
Another 26 Jo-Ann stores are scheduled to be renovated this year. These remodels improve the shoppers’ mobility and the store’s “shop-ability.” Aisles are wider and less cluttered, lighting is brighter, signage is clearer and the pattern drawers (wait for it) actually open without risk to life or limb. Often more merchandise can fit into the same space through reconfigurations, benefiting the shoppers and store alike.
In addition, throughout the year, Jo-Ann conducts what we call “refreshes” to address minor repairs and cosmetic issues (i.e., stores in need of a facelift but not reconstructive surgery). Basic improvements can include repainting, repairing or replacing outdated systems and revamping of existing shelf structures, etc. Not quite the scale of a remodel nor as exciting as a new store opening, Jo-Ann doesn’t make a big fuss about these improvements – although we do hope you notice them when you pay a visit.
Finally, let me share with you that there are a plethora of Jo-Ann team members for whom sewing, crafting and artistic expression are a key component not just of the hours that make up our work days but the DNA that composes our very (creative) beings. Like many of you, our hearts skip a beat when we see fabulous fabrics or scintillating scrapbook papers. We can wile away hours of our lives browsing stamps, stickers, patterns, paints or polymer clay tools. Our spouses give us a confused look when we justify the need of another six skeins of self-stripping sock yarn or too-cute candy molds.
We enjoy our stores’ merchandise (and LOVE our employee discounts!). We take pride in our work, classes and stores and hope that you have the best possible experience every time you visit. While you may not encounter one of us on every visit or even in every store, please know that we are here and truly believe in our mission – to inspire creativity.