4/19/11

Quilt Shop: A Common Thread


Speaking of blooming trees, how about this flowering cherry in front of their store?  I just love this time of year.  A Common Thread is located just off Interstate 5 in Tigard, Oregon (although their address is probably technically Portland).  Of the stores in the Portland area, I probably shop here most often.  It is relatively close to home for me (and nothing is close to me!), and they are a Bernina authorized dealer.  I can get parts and service for my Bernina sewing machine here.

Although they seem to have pared down their fabric inventory in the past year, they have the best selection of batiks in the area, in my humble opinion.  I say they've pared down their inventory because I believe they've made way for more sewing machines.  This is a full-service sewing and vacuum shop, where they carry several brands of machines, as well as an in-store service center.  In all honesty, I wouldn't take my machine here for service because the one time I did, I had a negative experience.  I won't go into it because I try to keep negativity off my blog, but I'll just say that the employee was rude, and the person in charge didn't do anything to smooth my ruffled feathers.  I've discovered that the same man seems to do most of the service at the Bernina authorized dealers in my area, and so now I just give him my business at his personal repair shop. 

The store is large, airy, and beautifully decorated.

There is a large and busy classroom in the back.  I've been generally pleased with their classes, and I especially like the classroom.  There is plenty of room for lots of participants to spread out, and a wall of windows that provides lots of natural light (my personal favorite).  They also have a nice big and clean restroom (another favorite).  They put out a lovely catalog of classes each season, and there are always several I want to choose from.   I also like the "passport option" of paying for my classes, since it is generally more economical than paying for each class individually.  It goes like this:

Win Your next Class Passport!
Our Class Passport has always been the best way to expand your
sewing skills and creativity, and we've made it even better by giving you
the chance to earn a $10 Gift Certificate and win your next
Passport! Just $75 allows you to take any – or all – of our popular
Passport classes. There are over 45 Passport classes to choose from,
including techniques, projects, Clubs and Open Sew sessions, in this
Winter & Spring 2011 newsletter from January 1-April 30.
To win simply attend all the Passport classes you sign up for, give us
at least one week notice if you must cancel, and have your Passport
stamped by your instructor. If you have perfect attendance you'll receive
a $10 Gift Certificate and you'll be entered into our drawing for next
trimester's Passport! We'll keep them on file in the classroom, so you
won't have to worry about leaving it at home. Sign up for no more than
five classes at a time so that everyone can enjoy the fun! 

They recently increased the price of the passport, but instituted the $10 gift certificate policy as an incentive to attend the classes you sign up for.  The option to win your next passport is an added incentive.  (I'll admit to being guilty of signing up and then not showing up.  It makes sense that they've instituted this smart incentive policy.)

As I said earlier, I shop at this store and take more classes here than at any other quilt shop in my local area.  They always have something I like, and the classes are generally excellent.  I regret I can only give them four rotary cutters out of five because their customer service is so hit or miss.  Sometimes I get excellent customer service.  Sometimes it can best be described as "surly."  I don't know what makes the difference on any given day, but it is perplexing.  I've had times when I've walked out swearing never to shop there again.  But then I want to find a pretty batik, and so I return because I love their fabrics.  Then, that will be the day the service is excellent again.  I offer this up as both encouragement and a warning.  If you find yourself getting less-than-friendly service, I'd encourage you to give them another chance.  I'm against cutting off my nose to spite my face, and I gain more benefit from shopping here than if I were to go elsewhere.  Their classes are always excellent as well. 

I can recommend this store to you if you find yourself in the area.  Just go in with the right attitude, enjoy what you enjoy, and ignore the rest if you can.  I'll say also that their prices are a little higher than in other stores in the area, especially on notions.  I avoid buying notions there since I can usually find the same thing elsewhere (online or at JoAnn) for less.  On the other hand, they have a great remnant bin where you can find good-sized remnants for a percentage off.  I get a lot of background fabrics out of their remnant bin.

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