Quilt Shop: Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe & Mercantile

As I mentioned when I wrote about the Stitches in Bloom Quilt Show yesterday, I visited a quilt shop on the same day.  This is a shop I've visited before.  Located in West Linn, Oregon, it's a fair drive for me.  It was on my way home from the quilt show (sort of), and so it seemed a good day to pay them a visit.

The Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe & Mercantile is easy to get to, right off the I-205 freeway (or turnpike for you East Coast folks).  It is located in one of the more attractive strip malls I've seen.  There is plenty of parking right in front of the door.  In fact, I was standing right next to my car when I took the picture above.

The shop (or shoppe, if you prefer) is positively beautiful inside.  I was almost mad at them when I saw this Christmas tree, but then realized it is all decked out for Valentine's Day with heart-shaped ornaments.  Very pretty.  Being a quilt shop and "mercantile", the store is loaded with fabric and lovely gifts for the home.  They tended to specialize in dark civil war and muted vintage prints, and the store was loaded with them.  If that style of quilt is to your liking, you will love this store.

Here is a good example of the sort of fabrics and gifts they stock.

There is fabric everywhere you look.  The very back of the store has some brighter colored fabrics, however there was very little in the way of whimsy or novelty prints, which are my preference.  

It truly is a lovely store with beautiful quilts on display, lots of patterns and books, lovely gifty items for someone special, and a good stock of Jim Shore ornaments and knickknacks.  It is tastefully decorated and lovingly maintained.

Here's what I didn't like about it.  First, I am put off by merchants who start bossing me around with a list of rules before I even get through the front door.  This greeted me before I could take the first step up.

No this, no that, and definitely, no having fun.  They posted it on this little chalkboard, and then again twice on the door less than ten feet away, with the "No" a little too enthusiastically applied.  The only thing missing here are the words, "And We Really Mean It!"

These sorts of things tend to bring out the rebel in me, however.  In an act of civil disobedience, I took pictures anyway.  [Sue me if you must.  First, you'll need to show the ways in which I've damaged you.]  

Further, there were "don't do this" and "don't do that" signs posted all over the store.  Stickers that said "books and patterns are not returnable" were stuck to virtually every book and pattern.  It continued with "don't touch", "don't move", and "whatever you're thinking, don't do it" posted everywhere you look.  It reminded me of being a child in a store where I was required to keep my hands in my pockets to avoid breaking anything.  

The other thing I noticed on both visits is that the music they play is just a little too loud, and it is also oddly distracting.  They are playing the original soundtracks for Broadway musicals.  I like a good musical as much as the next person, but somehow it isn't conducive to a peaceful shopping experience.  I found myself wanting to dance on top of the bolts of fabric and burst into song.  And I'm fairly certain that would have been against the rules.  On both occasions, the music eventually ran me out of the store.

So, I have mixed feelings about this store.  It is beautiful to look at, and they have scads of beautiful fabrics and gifts.  If you were in the area and looking for quilt shops to visit, I would recommend it to you.  There are many reasons for visiting the store.  I would also offer up this caveat:  know ahead of time that it has an unfriendly feel to it.  The owners have clearly gone out of their way to create a lovely and welcoming environment, only to make it somewhat hostile by posting too many warnings and admonishments.  It is a show place, but--and this is only my personal opinion--inhospitable in appearance.

Nevertheless, I am giving them four out of five rotary cutters for their beautiful store, great selection of gifts and fabric, and their convenient location.

If you find yourself in West Linn, Oregon, or anywhere close by, you should definitely stop in.  And if you like civil war and vintage prints, you will absolutely love their selection of quilting fabrics and patterns.

Updated to add:  *Disclaimer:  Cat Patches accepts no advertising, nor any sponsorships.  The opinions expressed on this blog are based on the personal impressions and perceptions of the author. They are formed  on the basis of one short visit, on one day, and may or may not reflect the experience of others visiting on a different day.  They are no more descriptive than a single snapshot image can be, and nothing written in a review of a quilt shop should be construed as objective fact.  The reviews are strictly the author's subjective opinion and should not be interpreted as anything more.


Donna said...

Beautiful quilt shop. They definitely carry fabrics I love. The "no" signs are unfortunate .... however, I bet each sign has a reason based on a negative experience the shop owner has had.

Jocelyn said...

Oh I would love this store's merchandise. I love civil war fabrics and virtually NO store carries it in our area. But it is a shame that they have such a negative appearance towards customers. I have to agree with Donna, there must be a reason for so many "no" signs. Very sad to be in business and not be able to enjoy what you are doing.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Aren't we humans funny ducks ?~! We take our negative experiences and try to "make it not happen again" meanwhile reducing the enjoyment others may have taken in having that happen... am I making sense here ?~! Still your review is fair, unbiased and non-judgmental in its entirety.

Lyndsey said...

They have some lovely fabrics but not really to my taste as I tend to like brighter colours and quirky prints. The no notices would certainly put me off but it is sad that they feel they need to do it.

make.share.give said...

Only one of my local quilt shops has an unfriendly "don't touch our stuff" vibe. I've not visited their new shop, but their old location was hard to motivate through. One clerk followed my son and me up and down each aisle. While looking at a cute apron panel thinking how I could fussy-cut from it, she helpfully added, "It's an apron."
Later during a shophop, they were more welcoming, but not so much.
I willingly drive the extra few miles to friendlier shops.

Lee said...

I may have to check them out sometime when I'm in the north lands. I particularly like the quilt with the stars/geese blocks hanging on the old door display...and these are my tastes in fabric. I agree with Donna and the others too, sadly, but they've probably experienced past issues, and perhaps reasons against photography is that either a quilt on display is an original pattern and they don't want it 'copied' or (as I've known some do), rather than buy a pattern or book, they'll photo or sketch the design and make their own at home. Great review on your part :)

Diane Wild said...

With all that said, I think you were a bit too generous with the rotary rating. Nonetheless, if you can get by all that negative stuff and just dash in and get the fabric you need and like, it would be worth the stop.

WoolenSails said...

Well, it is a quilt store, so don't touch, makes absolutely no sense, lol.


Kristine said...

I have to agree - a "do not touch" sign in a quilt store? I'm sorry, but I couldn't last 5 minutes in a fabric store that had that posted anywhere. As for no photos - I think they're sadly missing the point. If they're worried about people "stealing" patterns, they will not be successful with this approach. I am one that will not buy a pattern that I could sketch out in 5 minutes myself or find for free online. It has to be something more.

Francine said...

Hi Barbara - thanks for this review. I went on a bit of a shop hop last summer myself. I must say, all of the shops I visited were very open to photography. I was tentative about asking and one shop owner kind of giggled and said "of course!" The shop you visited was indeed beautiful, if a little light on the brights, but I hope they read your post - and relax - quilters are your friends!

Betty said...

I have to wonder why a shop owner goes out of the way to make the atmosphere so unwelcoming. If a shop has a warm friendly atmosphere, customers will linger and be more likely to find something that just has to go home with them.

Anonymous said...

A very good assessment of that shop(pe), I would say. There have been a few with similar 'vibes' that I have been in. They didn't have signs like those but the "feeling" was less than pleasant, consequently, I spent $0 and was quite happy with that amount! LOL! It is a lovely, "magazine photo" perfect shop and I hope they are pleased with their creation. Thanks so much for the non-photos! LOL, LOL!!! Hugs, Doreen

Kate said...

It looks like a beautiful shop, but I like brights. Too bad they haven't made it more welcoming.

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

WOW! That sounds a little over the top! Not sure I would take the time to visit!

Lynne said...

Sounds very unfriendly! There are no such warnings in my friendly, small, LQS.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I always take photos in quilt shops, it's the only way I can remember where the fabric was and exactly what it looked like so I might go back and get it again. There are so many free patterns on the internet you don't have to copy the quilts in the store. To go here the fabric would have to be either really pretty, really cheap or the only shop near me. I avoid one on my way home from work because I think the owner is horrible.

Sarah said...

I've seen this quilt shop on many blogs and always thought it looked beautiful. The fabrics they carry are gorgeous and so beautifully displayed. Yours is the first I've read about the "vibe" of the store. It's sad they have to be so bossy. Maybe they've had a lot of naughty quilters in there?!

Dana Gaffney said...

It is beautiful but it seems to go against all things quilty without some friendliness there, greeted with a NO I probably wouldn't even have gone in. My personal review: 3 cutters.

Snoodles said...

I agree with the others....there must be a history here, but in trying to protect themselves, they seem to have created an atmosphere that is distinctly less than comfortable - and that is what quilts are all about: inspired creativity that results in comfort! The store is lovely, but it seems like that house that your maiden aunt lives in, that is much more a house, or maybe a museum, than a home! Does that make sense? Personally, if I'd been there, I would not have stayed in the store as long as you did! :)

Daryl @ Patchouli Moon Studio said...

Too bad such a lovely looking shop has such a negative attitude. Not a place I would find inviting with those negative signs. I realize they must have done that because they had problems, but they are only creating new problems with those negative signs and the wrong music. You want your customers to linger with soothing music and feel welcome. Sounds like they are chasing away the customers they get. A store in my area had a lot of negative signs in their shop and they were unfriendly too. Well they went out of business a couple of years ago too. They were only a half mile from where I lived too, but I didn't feel welcome or wanted there so I took my business elsewhere. And people say quilter's are the nicest people...well like anything else there are always a few bad apples in the barrel.

Donana said...

I'm with snoodles. It does seem more like a museum. I must say you are way generous with your rotary cutters for this store. In all honesty I probably would not visit this store. In fact, if I were to visit and felt unwelcome I'd probably go running to the nearest Joann's lol. It is a pretty store and yes they may have had problems in the past but handle those on a case by case basis, don't treat everyone that comes through the door like they are being scolded. Thanks for the review.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I get 'not stealing' someones patterns, but, I usually ask, and get an ok to take pictures of the sample of a pattern I'm already purchasing. Most stores I visit don't care at all.

Denise :) said...

Cute little store ... I love that they still have a Christmas tree up, even if it is decorated with hearts! Sorry about all the don'ts, nos, and keep offs ... that would definitely temper a happy experience. Other than that, though, it really looked like a place I'd enjoy! :)

Unknown said...

Beautiful shop! Thank you for pointing me in their direction. I must say that, beyond the sign about photography (and food and solicitation) on the front door, I saw nothing in the way of the negative "don't" signs that you mentioned. And the staff was extremely friendly and very helpful. I loved the music playing in the background - perhaps you caught the shop on an off day. In any case, I can't thank you enough for your naughty pictures - I now have a new favorite quilt store. I only wish it was a bit closer to home but I'll make the effort to drive here!

Unknown said...


Thank you for the review of our "Shoppe." Unfortunately, I have to point out that there are many exaggerations in this blog post more specifically relating to this comment:

"Further, there were "don't do this" and "don't do that" signs posted all over the store. It continued with "don't touch", "don't move", and "whatever you're thinking, don't do it" posted everywhere you look."

We do not have signs of that nature placed around the Shoppe. The three courtesies we ask have been in place on the door since we've existed. Those three courtesies should not be viewed as a way to hamper fun.

On a side note: Our Shoppe is all about fun which is why we have fun music playing to shop to and offer amazing events. Our employees are some of the friendliest out there and welcome everyone who stops in. We've even caught many people tapping their feet and doing a few jigs as they browse. Have you ever been to one of our events?

When we have finished quilt samples for sale we have asked to ask us for assistance as since they are a higher price point, we want to ensure we are offering a quality product to the person who would like to purchase it.

No Food Or Drink protects our products from spills and potential safety issues as we do have wood floors. If we encouraged food or drink for one person, we'd have to allow everyone which increases the chance of an accident.

No Photography: In this age of social media, we protect our brand against certain abuses and blog postings such as the one displayed here.

No Soliciting: We want our customers to have an enjoyable time. We feel that individuals interrupting our staff while they are serving you to sell us something is inappropriate.

We would have simply appreciated if you had spoken to us prior to making many assumptions as you have done on your blog. We believe in supporting all quilt shops. Every quilt shop is unique and offers something different to celebrate the art of quilting. I am questioning the intention of this review as it would appear you did not speak with any of our staff or either one of us.

Thank you for your time.


Barbara said...

To Brian above: sadly you left me no way to contact you, and so I will have to do it here. Thank you for your comment. I will leave it posted as I believe you have the right to disagree with my assessment. I feel a need to point out that I am an individual blogger. I do not advertise, nor do I accept sponsorships. The opinions expressed on my blog are my personal impressions and perceptions, and I stand by what I said. Others might visit your shop and disagree. Some have.

I disagree with you that there are not an inordinate number of signs posted in your store admonishing your customers about their browsing behavior. There is a small structure in the middle of the store that had signs posted requesting that customers not move items. Every single book and pattern had a sticker noting that the item was not returnable. These signs and the signs at the door give your shop an unfriendly feel. That is strictly my personal opinion, and I am entitled to express it on my personal blog. You are entitled to disagree, as you have.

Despite these criticisms, I believe I had a number of positive remarks about your store, and I gave it my 4 rotary cutter ranking, which is high.

Unknown said...

Hi Barbara,

I understand that you are an individual "blogger" with a right to an opinion, but you as a "blogger" have a responsibility to present fact without embellishment.

"Further, there were "don't do this" and "don't do that" signs posted all over the store. "

I'm sorry, but there are not signs posted "all over the store."

In your comment above you indicate that the sign was on a small structure in the middle of our store. As I thought about what you could possibly be talking about, we did have a trunk show inside the farmhouse from a local designer. As with any trunk show those projects do not belong to us and we did have one sign that simply stated, "Please do not remove samples..." Again, since these projects do not belong to us and because we are held responsible for items that go missing, we are going to post a reminder. This in no way says not to touch the merchandise. This is where your blog misleads people who are reading as indicated in the 24 comments above. In addition, when we have finished quilt samples available for purchase we place a sign that suggests asking for assistance. Since many of these are finished quilt samples with custom quilting, we know that our customers appreciate us keeping these quilts with a higher price point in excellent condition.

I've been in a number of quilt shops with "No Returns on Books or Patterns" put on the product or on signage. Doesn't bother me at all. In fact anywhere I go where the policy is communicated doesn't bother me. How this is 'unfriendly" is beyond me as it is simply letting you know of our store policy on returns before you purchase. That is not "unfriendly." We've used those stickers since 2007/2008 because prior to that people were asking why we don't have them. So which is it?

I will continue to standby that your portrayal of our Shoppe is rather biased and the intention is definitely in question.

"In an act of civil disobedience, I took pictures anyway. [Sue me if you must. First, you'll need to show the ways in which I've damaged you.] "

I don't know how that is the thought of a friendly quilter who supports LQS? Privately Leased/Owned spaces that are open to the public may post a No Photography request and patrons are obligated to follow that request or at least request permission. We have others who have asked us permission to use images of our Shoppe on their blog.

We've reviewed your blog with our staff and one of them said, "Don't people know how reviews like this also hurt the employees who work there?" I agree. Our staff members are some of the friendliest staff out there and it is odd to me you mentioned no interaction with staff. Did you interact with our staff? I do believe you were more intent on capturing the images you wanted to write your blog. On a most recent quilt shop review you went out of your way to meet the owner and find out about her shop. Just curious as to why you didn't do that during your visit? Do you shop our store often or attend our events?

I realize that you have appointed yourself as some kind of Quilt Shop Review Commission, but at the very least you could have introduced yourself and maybe found out some information about our Shoppe? This is not asking for an endorsement or sponsorship, it's simply a professional request.

Just as you are entitled to express your opinion, I too have an opinion. Your blog definitely serves as a conversation piece to be having about how people really can support quilt shops on my blog, "Boughs of Holly." I understand you gave us some kind of high ranking, however, it appears just to be a disguise to hide the slant.

Thank you for your time.

Barbara said...

Brian, you still have not provided me with any way to communicate with you, and so I guess this will be our conversation. Again, I will say that my post clearly states that I am expressing my opinion and my impression. My impression of your store is that it had an unfriendly vibe. It was my second visit to your store, but my first and only review. On both occasions, I felt the same way. The store feels unfriendly TO ME, and your continuing harrassment does nothing to change that impression.

I did not approach your staff. I had no interest in approaching your staff, and that is why there is no mention of them, positive or negative. I find it interesting that you choose to focus only on the criticisms I have of your store, and say nothing about the many positive remarks I made. In fact, I encouraged my readers to visit your store if they are in the area, while letting them know what I considered to be its limitations.

What are you thinking should happen here? Do you think your store is perfect? That there is no room for improvement? How am I, as a visitor, to know what arrangements you have with others when you post signs? And why would I care? I am only writing about my impression of the store, both good and bad. If you have some sort of action you would like me to take, please say so, and I will consider it. Otherwise, please take my comments for what they are...my personal opinion and my personal impression. I do not claim them to be anything else.

Unknown said...

Hi Barbara,

Exactly.Why would you care to write about the signs? You are stating, "Why should you care because you don't know of the arrangements we have"...well, exactly...why would it even be the subject of a good portion of your post? You state you had no interest in approaching our staff yet you do on other shop reviews. The staff are a crucial element to any shop big or small. Are they not? They afterall greet you, help you, calculate your math, figure out how to make a quilt larger, cut Fat Quarters, listen to you and on and on and on the list goes. By chance our store feels unfriendly to you because you went there with a completely different set of intentions other than shopping?

Defending our shop doesn't make us unfriendly. It would appear that if a shop owner disagrees with you or you take a personal issue with something like a sign, you will label them unfriendly.

I have stated my concern with your post. You have falsely misrepresented our store by claiming the signs were "all over" and that they were telling you not to touch anything and everything which lead your readers to believe that (as indicated in several of the comments). It is an embellishment of fact. In addition, you came into our store and hid behind every fixture possible to take your photos because the civil disobedience in you said that was more important than actually shopping.

I am not asking you to do anything. At this stage, I'm simply stating that we believe your review to have embellishment of fact.

And as always, you are more than welcome to introduce yourself in the future.


Barbara said...

I guess we will need to agree to disagree.