One more milestone was recently accomplished in the closing of Bear Patch -- we had our final employee Christmas party! I know, it's bittersweet, but I think it was possibly the most fun party we have had! It was a potluck at the store after business hours. Normally, we go out to eat, but since we had just had a fabulous dinner at our retirement party for Debbie and Laurel, we opted to just stay at the store and share our own specialities. Wow! Good food, too much to even fit on our cutting table buffet line! Desserts had to occupy a separate space! We were all seated at our classroom tables, which is a place of familiarity and good memories for us. We had much more lively dinner conversation than if we were out in public at a real restaurant. People clearly wanted to enjoy this last full gathering.
Christmas day a whole lot happier for some lucky little ones! Thank you to our very generous customers who have already donated, and we are continuing to collect until December 14 so there is still time for you to participate!
We played a numbers game that really kept us all guessing. Barb, our wonderful bookkeeper, had combed through some of the store records and challenged us all to put our brains to the test in a guessing game. She separated some of the most frequently purchased items in our database and we were pretty surprised at the quantity of some of them! Plus, these numbers are just for the past 5 years! It would not have been possible to capture all of these items for 21 years because the early years were non-computerized. So to keep it simple, she just captured the totals for 2014 to the present. Here are a few of the stats:
Fat Quarters - this was the highest quantity of all items. For the uninitiated, a fat quarter is not a body part. It is a piece of fabric measuring 18" x 22" and is the equivalent of 1/4 yard of fabric. Our total number sold isn't even a true total, because we do give away a lot of fat quarters for retreat groups, bus groups, shop hops, etc. Our total sold was 44,416 fat quarters over 5 years! That equals 11,104 yards of fabric! I wanted to put that number into a quantity I could relate to, so I figured that many bolts have about 12 yards of fabric when they come to us. Maybe more, maybe less, but I'm going with 12. That equals 925 bolts of fabric used for fat quarters over 5 years! That means there are a whole lot of fat quarters leaving Bear Patch every year! Are any of them in your stash?
Cosmo floss - this item is a Japanese made embroidery floss. The parent company is actually Lecien, and they make a lot more than embroidery floss. It is called a 6-strand floss and is sold on a little skein wrapped with paper loops, much like the DMC brand of floss. We have a large group of hand embroidery enthusiasts shopping and meeting at Bear Patch. They love this floss and feel it is superior to DMC in the quality and feel of the product. Over the last 5 years, we have sold 17,668 little skeins of Cosmo! Each skein holds 8 meters (8.7 yards). That equals 153,711 yards of floss! To clarify just how much thread that is, imagine if you tied all that thread together. And then tie one end to the goal post arm of a football field. Now run to the other end 1,537 times. That's how much Cosmo floss we have sold since 2014! Amazing! And think how short of breath we would be from just running the length of the field once!
Aurifil thread - we all knew this would be one of the top-selling items in the store. We love our Aurifil thread, and we preach the wisdom of using the best thread you can afford to buy for your precious sewing projects. This is an Italian-based company with a mission to make the best thread ever! They have an American headquarters in Chicago, in addition to their original establishment in Milan, Italy. Anyway, here are the stats: 7,049 spools of Aurifil sold in 5 years. These are the large spools of thread, and this is a combination of the 2 most-used weights of thread, the 40 and 50 weight spools. The 50 wt spool outruns the other by a long run, so I am using that spool as the basis for my calculations. Those spools each hold a lot of thread, 1,300 meters (1,422 yards) to be exact. Multiplied out, we have 10,023,678 yards of thread! There are 1,760 yards of thread in 1 mile. This equals 5,695 miles of thread that we have sold in 5 years! Now, let's tie all of that thread together on a giant spool and go on an exotic vacation to Istanbul. Fasten the giant spool to the plane (I'm sure we could duct tape it on there somehow but getting it through security might make the people behind us a little testy!) and string that along from the plane for the entire flight from MSP airport to Istanbul. That is 5,489 miles (12-14 hours fly time with 1 stop to pee), and we will arrive with still 200 yards of thread to spare. How about that!? That kind of blows my mind! Yes, we all really really love our Aurifil thread!
I could go on with more, but I won't because, although fascinating, this is enough numbers for today! The next 2 most frequently sold items are our 14" zippers from Atkinson Designs (6,747) and Isacord thread (6,313 spools). How many of all these items are at home in your stash?!