The Happy Scrapper
Interview with Marilyn Zalewski
1) How many years have you been in business? How did your business get started?
I taught classes for the previous owner. I never dreamed I would own a scrapbook store, but sometimes you can’t fight fate! I purchased The Happy Scrapper in April, 2012, so I have personally been in business for over 2 years. The previous owners were in business for over a year.
2) What makes your store unique?
Customers tell me that I have the most comfy crop room around! Each station has an executive style chair, cutting mat, cup holder and trash receptacle. 10- by 4-foot tables provide 5- by 2-feet of space per cropper. Each station has a lamp and electrical outlets. A Keurig machine brews fresh coffee at the push of a button.
Scrappers have the use of two Cricut machines and a variety of cartridges. I also have a selection of stamps, punches, and idea books for use during crops. Shoppers get a stamp on their Happy Scrapper Rewards Card for every $25 they spend. When their card is full, they receive a $25 store credit!
I pride myself on customer service. If I don’t have something, I can usually get it for you within a few days. With no employees, you get the same smiling face every time… MINE!
I carry a lot of specialty papers that you can’t find in the big box stores, including local school paper and stickers. If you’d like personalized paper, I can get that for you too. Imagine how fun it will be to have your child’s name as the background of a page.
My prices are low and if I can buy something at a good price, I pass on the savings. Customers love “The Paper Room” where paper is just 3/$1 every day.
3) Do you offer classes, crops, weekend retreats and other events?
I have a large variety of classes including Scrapbooking 101 and a Sketch Layout Class. I have one or more cardmaking classes a month. Marker classes consist of Copic 101, Copic Club, KaiserFusion 101, and KaiserFusion Klub. Don’t forget the Mom & Kids classes and Kids’ Kamp during the Summer. My Cricut and Gypsy classes are scheduled as necessary. I welcome guest teachers and if someone has an idea for a project, we’ll give it a try.
One of my favorite events is the Scapbook Garage Sale which I host every other month. Ladies are in line waiting for the door to open for the greatest deals.
The Happy Scrapper has a 14-hour crop every month. All meals, beverages, desserts, snacks and door prizes are included. A massage therapist often comes to our 14-hour crops and she is wonderful!
I do a lot of scrapbooking fundraisers. It’s a good way to give back to the community, while bringing my products to the customer.
4) How do you promote your store?
The Happy Scrapper is on Facebook. Other effective ways we reach out are our email newsletters (sign-up on our website), in-store calendars, word of mouth, and of course Michigan Scrapbooker-they do an amazing job at supporting store owners. I also participate in voting contests like “Vote 4 the Best”, through Channel 4.
5) What is the biggest challenge that you face as an independent business owner?
Customers shopping at big box stores! It is frustrating for an independent retailer when a customer leaves their crop and returns with a bag of sale items from a big box store. Sometimes customers ask why all the independent stores are closing and this is a one huge reason. We host crops so that croppers will hopefully make purchases at OUR stores. My prices are very reasonable, but small stores can’t compete with big box volume sales of lower quality products. Please support independent businesses!
6) Contact information:
Marilyn Zalewski, Owner
The Happy Scrapper
28905 Harper Ave.
St. Clair Shores, MI 48081
South of 12 Mile, West side of Harper
Phone: (586) 778-8828
Facebook: The Happy Scrapper LLC
Email: HappyScrapper@wowway.comGina Karas is a traditional scrapbooker with a passion for photography. She work full-time as a Sales Assistant in the construction industry, but spends her spare time crafting with her mom and crazy friends! “Scrapbooking keeps me sane!” she says. See her projects and posts about scrapping & crafting on her blog, California Scrappin’.
Now for the prize giveaway…
The Happy Scrapper has donated a $20 Gift Card for ONE lucky winner!! To be eligible for the random drawing you must COMMENT below about why you would like to visit The Happy Scrapper. DEADLINE to enter: Saturday, August 30th, at midnight!
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