Thursday, May 25, 2017

My visit to Missouri Star Quilt Company

I'm not even sure where to start. You have to remember that all of this is located in Hamilton, Missouri. Hamilton has a population of just under two thousand people. And what are the odds that this little town has not one but TWO famous people associated with it?  The founder of J. C. Penny (James Cash in case you didn't know) was also from Hamilton. One of the shops (yes - MULTIPLE shops) is named Penny's and has the original sign from the local J.C. Penny store. Check out the link above if you want more information on Hamilton. I'm totally fascinated by this entire story!

In addition to what you see in town, keep in mind that there are not one, but TWO state-of-the-art warehouses nearby that support the online business. We didn't get a chance to visit, but I hope to soon!

This link will give you an overview of the many shops of MSQC.

This link will take you to the retreat center.  YES - right in the middle of Hamilton, you can book a retreat for up to 37 people!!!!   There are no meals provided, but the retreat is inexpensive ($69 US a night) - a kitchen is onsite so you can cook, there are a couple of small cafes and bakeries very close by.  Who wants to go????   I'm in - let's book a date!  This is a driveable distance.   Oh - by the way, I'm moving there so you can all come and visit me!  Here's more info on the retreat center.

And here is what I've been looking for  - the link to the MAP of the town and where all the shops are located.

Let me just say that this company knows what direction it's going in, they have a team of very smart people running it and everywhere I turned, the attention to detail was amazing. I believe that EACH shop had two very large washrooms for when they were needed.

Each shop was spacious and not crowded and the merchandising in each was impeccable. Now - MSQC is NOT your typical quilt shop.  First off - EACH shop is huge and is way bigger than most quilt shops.  They have created an entire SHOP for each category of fabric - batiks, primitives, modern, etc.  All the other quilt shops I've been to - they have to cram everything into one shop that is smaller in size than one shop of MSQC.  Let's keep in mind that the overhead in Hamilton is probably way less than other major centers so they can afford to throw space around!

I did prep a few pictures for you this morning. This is one of the main buildings. MSQC takes up the entire building and there are shops on the ground level as well as on the top level.  You'll be able to see this on the map that I posted the link to.  The shops are totally interconnected so you can wander from one to the other without going outside. This was EXTREMELY helpful in our charm shopping because I was able to pay $50 at each cash and get the free charm.  What was paid for went in the bag, what wasn't paid for, I held in my hand and carried over to the next shop.  I know - very sad. It was like a FEEDING FRENZY. Let's keep in mind that there were FOUR of us and we were doing a wee bit of research as well so it wasn't hard to find $50 worth of merchandise to get those damn charms. More on that in a minute.

MSQC on one side of Davis Street in Hamilton
This next photo is the inside of Florals.  Obviously, the flower shop!   I'm not huge into florals, but I was ready to lay out some serious cash in this shop.

Inside Florals at MSQC
The layout was any quilt shop owners dream.  High ceilings to beautifully display the quilts. Obviously, there is the cash to do it right!  And long rows of identical shelving which made it easy for us to view the collections and all the pre-cuts were right there.  It doesn't get much better than that!!!

The center of most of the shops was reserved for all the merchandising - the cute things that make you want to buy!  And the cutting tables were there as well.

The shelving along two long walls of Florals and the quilts on display
Then there was the main shop.  This place was WIDE OPEN and HUGE.  A big seating area, loads of quilts on display, T-shirts and other memorabilia things to buy, as well as fabric.  This was also the area where you could get your card printed - more about that in a second.   At the back of this shop was a demo area that I was ready to move into.  Yep - to live - it was that gorgeous!  Shoot - I didn't download that picture.

The main shop
So you registered on a row of iPads in the main shop with your name and where you were from and your e-mail. Then a card was printed out with a bar code on it. Then it was a simple matter of wherever you went, you presented the card and they had you in their system!  If you were buying something from them, they can tell what you bought so if you didn't remember, they could help you! I bet they tally that up at the end of the day to see how much each customer bought.  Oh yes - don't kid yourself - I bet they saw sales skyrocket when they implemented that damn charm system!

I wonder if we qualified for a prize with the amount we spent?  I paid for it all so it looked like I bought a LOT. (which I did!)  They also gave you a bracelet that you can put your charms on. One per shop!  Thirteen in total. Now you can also buy the charms on their own for $6 and I did buy a couple.  I see that I also ended up with a couple of duplicates - not sure how that happened and one pin at the Florals shop was GONE so I got a pin instead of a charm.  That's a good enough reason to go back to get that last charm.  Oh god - just shoot me - I'm so obsessed it's obscene.

My card and my bracelet
Do you think I can remember what this card is called??  If you go there, go to the main shop first and get this card. I think it is only available in the main shop  - on the opposite side of the street from the picture that I posted.

So if anyone wants to buy a charm?  I have the modern charm and I have the primitive charm up for grabs.  $5 CDN - a bargain!  I'll post pictures of them tomorrow. We also ended up with a duplicate BLOCK magazine which is up for grabs.  $5 CDN.  I'll post the picture tomorrow.

I have to say that I love being in this business.  It gives me access to a lot more things than I would have access to as a plain old quilter and trust me, I'm not shy to ask questions.  I'm not even going to provide details to protect myself!

We had tickets to go to Jenny's trunk show. It was two hours long which got to be a tad long simply because we wanted to hit the shops.  But she is a natural. She is so funny, so connected to her audience and so humble.  She truly is an amazing person and all the staff at MSQC were friendly and very welcoming/accommodating.

Jenny's PACKED lecture

They had a two-day event  - the Missouri Star Academy.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to take part in the event, although I would have liked to.  Next time!!!  But if you get a chance to go to this event next time they plan one, I think it would be very worthwhile!   And we know a GREAT place to stay that is way better than a hotel and much closer than any hotel.  I'll show you pictures of that ranch another day.

Bottom line - MSQC is NOT your typical quilt store. I think I saw on their website that it was like the Disneyland of quilting.  YES - it truly is.  Should you be lucky enough to be going to MSQC, I would highly recommend that you leave your credit card at home!  Take cash - take LOTS of cash - I mean LOTS and LOTS of cash. Especially if you want the FREE charms, but you could buy them as well. There are few places to eat in town so keep that in mind, but there is a full grocery store. There are bathrooms everywhere and an elevator to whisk you upstairs on that one side of the street if stairs are not your friend. And of course, you can buy the daily deal IN PERSON - which we did - both days!

And trust me - even if you say, "I'm not buying anything", that thought goes out of your head the moment you walk into the shops. It's a buying frenzy and we certainly got caught up in it!

I can't wait to go back (you know - to buy a house!)   I'm going to sell my house, move down there. Buy a store front and renovate it for a studio (the space would be amazing) and live upstairs.  I would have died and gone to heaven!!!  Something to think about!

On that note, I better get a grip on myself today and buckle down to work. No more petting fabric and messing with my charms.

Have a super day!!!



  1. Is that the Morrell Ranch you are talking about for the retreat... it is fabulous - Ive only seen pictures as Bonnie Hunter was there for a retreat/workshop week.

  2. Ooops... did not look at the link for retreat first.. the retreat looks awesome.... the Morrell Ranch is outside of Hamilton, MO - don't know how far. Hamilton sure looks like a trip worth taking!

    1. Morrell Ranch is not far - about a 15 minute drive (down the back roads!)

  3. I have talked Hubby into doing part of Route 66 this summer so perhaps I can get him to make a 4 hour detour?

    1. What is four hours? Nothing but bonding time in the car!