October 15, 2012

Mini Road Trip: Mini Lion Brand Shop in A.C. Moore!

As you know, I've visited Lion Brand Yarn's flagship store in New York City a handful of times because I'm lucky enough to have a friend who lives in the same neighborhood. Every time I go I gather inspiration and feel generally excited about crocheting and all things yarn. It's a beautiful spot that I wish I could visit more than just a few times a year, but I'll take what I can get! 

So when I was scrolling through my Google Reader earlier this week and read this post from the Lion Brand Notebook, I was shocked to hear that they are now opening mini-shops in A.C. Moore stores and the very first one was opening this weekend in White Marsh, Maryland! This is amazing news because I always need a healthy dose of inspiration and I happened to have no plans this weekend, so I made a mental note to allow a few hours for a mini-road trip at some point this weekend to check it out. 

When I woke up on Sunday, I knew I wanted to make the hour drive to White Marsh and decided it would be nice to just go by myself, that way I could take my time if need be. So here's the inside scoop about these pop-up LBY stores! 

So, this is me really excited about going to the new LBY store. As you can see, I am overjoyed at the prospects of this trip ;). I decided to leave my dSLR at home and just use my cell camera as to not offend the crowd I was sure to encounter. This ended up being a great strategy, because A.C. Moore was crowded and I would've been nervous about something happening to my camera. 

 As soon as I parked at The Avenue, the shopping center where A.C. Moore was located, I was surprised that A.C. Moore wasn't advertising this new partnership outside. I was expecting posters and maybe some yarn bombing, but alas, I was excited enough without the extra flare. 

When I walked into the yarn department, I was greeted by an A.C. Moore employee who gave me a raffle ticket (excuse my disgusting thumb nail) for an upcoming 12 o'clock raffle. Sadly, I didn't win the raffle, but I sure "won" when it came to the steep discounts A.C. Moore was offering on LB yarn and supplies! As you can see, I picked up a new pair of stress gloves as mine tore a few months ago. 

The entire LB set-up is really nice and pleasing to the eye. It's essentially like shopping at your favorite local yarn shop, but with florescent lighting. It's actually really easy to forget that you're in a big box craft store because of the enlarged aisle space and work area. I really liked the signage and wood grain accents throughout the entire section. In true Lion Brand Studio fashion, there were plenty of sample projects, models, and assistants to help you make the most educated yarn purchase!

My favorite part of this partnership is that the yarn is finally organized in a logical manner. So many times big-box stores organize their yarn by brand and not by type, this new organization method allows A.C. Moore to organize the LB yarn by material and size (i.e. all the wool/wool blend is next to one another). 

The other great thing about this partnership is that now A.C. Moore carries so many more LB supplies! It's difficult for me to find hooks and other notions at local stores; I usually have to buy them online or whenever I visit NYC. So this entire end-cap was well organized and exciting for me to see so many options. 

If you look closely, there's a learning center much like the class area in the real LBS space. On this particular day, the A.C. Moore associates were doing a Make and Take headband using the new bon-bons! So many crafters were having a blast learning how to use the adorable little packages. Other associates were demonstrating how to use the Martha Stewart loom kit that LB released about a year ago. I actually scooped one up because they were on sale for $15.99 instead of the regular $39.99! What a deal!

Another great accent is that each bin of yarn has it's own hang-tag instead of just the regular big-box price tag. Each hang-tag offers the name of the yarn, the color, and the weight. They were extremely easy to read; much easier than those pesky little barcode stickers! 

Here is one of the displays that made me feel like I was no longer in A.C. Moore. This was a simple display that really allowed me to feel like I was in a smaller yarn shop browsing different samples. I really liked this personal touch.

So here's the bottom line: this is a great adaptation to Lion Brand's personal style you experience when visiting their flagship location in NYC. Sure, you're still shopping in A.C. Moore, but it's much more tolerable! Since their other locations have not been announced yet, if you find out your local A.C. Moore is making this transition, consider yourself lucky! I know I'll be making the hour drive to White Marsh much more frequently since there are so many more options and varieties of yarn available through this partnership!


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