We are pleased to introduce our new blog department “On the Road,” where we will highlight the local scrapbook stores in Michigan. We will provide you with some background, facts and information about the store along with a contest giveaway or special offer. Please welcome our new blog writer, Gina Karas, who will be interviewing the store owners and writing the articles for your enjoyment.
Inspiration Station Scrapbook Store and Retreat
Interview with Michelle McGroarty, Owner
1) How many years have you been in business? How did your business get started?
We are celebrating our 10 year Anniversary this year. I was an employee of Kara’s Creation Station in East Lansing. When she decided to sell, Connie Walter and I purchased it and moved it to its current location in Ovid. We renovated a 100 year old building, tin ceilings and all, and have continued to grow over the years. Our store is very full now! I think we have probably grown 800 percent since our opening day. We used to have a 33 table crop room. Now we only have 8 tables….the rest is merchandise. Every nook and cranny is full.
In June of this year, we also opened a 14 person overnight retreat for crafters, right next door to our 3500 square foot store. It has seven bedrooms and can hold up to 14 people. We are so excited for this new addition. We can’t stand it!! We love showing it off. We are very proud of it. It is cute and crafty, and spacious, and tranquil, and perfect (at least we think so!) We added all the extras…comfy bed and chairs, nice tables, etc. We are looking forward to seeing old friends from when we used to do off-site events at hotels. It will be great to see them again. It will be much easier to have them come to us though than to haul that 17 foot trailer. We miss the people from those events…but not the work.
To maintain our business, we also sell a lot online. We have a great website for cardmakers – www.ovidscrapbooking.com People often visit our store with the great samples they have printed off from our website along with their grocery list of supplies needed to create it. We love that!!
2) What makes your store unique?
We are conveniently located in the middle of nowhere. Ovid is a teeny tiny town with a lot of history, but it is off the beaten path. People don’t accidentally find us. They make a trip to see us. Our average customer is from an hour away. We opened with the idea that “if we build it, they will come” and they have….Luckily!
As far as inventory, we probably have the most diecuts and embossing folders anywhere which really draws people with a Cuttlebug, Big Shot or similar machine. We also have a laser cutter so we can custom design just about anything you can imagine out of paper. We have also really grown in the stamping and cardmaking world in the past few years. We love all of it!! We of course, continue to have a great selection of paper and embellishments for scrapbooking…but that goes without saying.
We do offer coupons if you sign up for our newsletters and a frequent shopper program for purchases in the store and online.
3) Do you offer classes, crops, weekend retreats and other events?
We have lots of classes! Technique Tuesdays are every Tuesday with a free make and take, and 2 Saturdays a month we host a Make and Take day. We have 4 projects available-2 cards and 2 pages. You can do any one project for free and any of the others for only $1 each. That is a big hit with our customers. They really like the hands on. Of course we also have weekend retreats every weekend at our new Inspiration Station Retreat.
4) How do you promote your store?
Facebook, email newsletters, and television ads are our best advertising….and of course publications like Michigan Scrapbooker!
5) What is the biggest challenge that you face as an independent business owner?
As a small local store, off the beaten path, we take a pretty hard hit when weather is bad…or really good. Summers are slower as finding time to make the trip is hard for many. Also when their kids are out of school, it is harder to make a special trip. We try really hard to find ways to bring customers in over the summer months. We continuously add new product to entice people to make the trip. It is never the same store twice and our prices are good. No heavy mark ups. We like to make it worth the drive for people. We appreciate that people make the effort to come see us since we aren’t a place that you stop at on your way to your grocery store. We are an expedition for most. We try not to offer the products people will find at Michael’s and Joann’s. We seek out the extraordinary and the unusual, so people will always find something they have never seen before. We like to think of it as “Big City Selection, Small Town Charm.” We urge people not to forget their local scrapbook stores over the summer. If stores don’t sell merchandise over the summer, there isn’t any money to buy all the new great things that come out in the fall. Even if you just make an effort to stop in and spend $5, your local store will appreciate it. I know we always do.
We know so many stores that have not been able to weather the Michigan economy and it makes us sad. Our industry is dwindling and moving online and I believe that takes all the fun out of it. I want to see a sample, touch the paper and see the texture when I buy something. So whenever you can, buy it from a local store. You won’t find customer service online like you will in a local store. Your local store should be able to supply you with supplies and inspiration which is irreplaceable by an online purchase.
We have been so blessed to still be in business after so many years and we know it is because we have loyal customers. They want us to be here when they need us… so they loyally shop from us. We are so thankful for every customer that comes in and helps us survive. We hope that we can continue to grow and continue to be one of Michigan’s premier scrapbook stores for years to come. We aren’t planning on going anywhere any time soon.
6) Contact info:
Inspiration Station Scrapbook Store and Retreat
111 S. Main St., PO Box 257
Ovid, MI 48866
Phone: 989-834-5222 (Store); 989-834-3044 (Retreat)
Store hours: OPEN 7 days a week-Mon-Thur 10:00am-6:30pm, Fri 10:30am-8pm, Sat 10:30am-6:30pm, Sun 12-5pmGina 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….
Inspiration Station has generously donated a FREE weekend or weekday package for ONE lucky winner!! To be eligible for the random drawing you must COMMENT below about what you found most interesting in this interview about Inspiration Station. DEADLINE to enter: Friday, July 18th at MIDNIGHT.