Just FYI, we're going to leave this post up for the day today - we really like this conversation going on in the comments. Continue to let us know where you would like to see some of our products. Thank you for all the fantastic feedback!
When I was growing up, I had many encounters with hobby and craft stores, initially because my mom is a crafter and worked for an arts and crafts store that shall remain nameless. Practically every weekend during the warm weather months, she would drag us kicking and screaming to arts and crafts shows across the state of Indiana so she could set up her booth to make some extra money. As a kid, I dreaded going to these events because it was all the same people and same booths every week, the only difference was the location. It felt like we were there for an eternity while my mom would stock up on her supplies. I would've rather had my nose in a book than create something from the vast array of supplies my mom kept on hand.
But a science project at the end of seventh grade completely changed my perspective of hobby stores. Mr. Shaw decided that for the last week of seventh grade, we would spend our class time building rockets, and on the very last day of class we would launch them in the cornfield behind our middle school. He told us we could get our rocket kits at Hobbyland, a locally owned store in my hometown. I was not excited about going to Hobbyland to get my rocket kit; I'd spent too many Saturday afternoons waiting for my mom while she mulled over which supplies at that same store.
Then something amazing happened, my mom couldn't take me. My mom turning down a chance to go to Hobbyland!?! I had to make sure that my neighbor's pigs hadn't sprouted wings and flew the pen! Those pigs were there, as they always were, and no wings in sight.
I arranged to get my rocket kit with my best friend Renee and her mom. As we pulled into the Town and Country shopping center, I didn't have the heavy feeling I usually felt. I'm not sure what happened, but when I walked into Hobbyland that day, it was like I'd never been there before. Maybe it was because Renee was pointing out various items that she wished she had. Or maybe it was that because my mom wasn't there, so my guard was down. I honestly don't know why, but for the first time, I saw that there were so many possibilities for creation. Never again did I dread Saturday afternoons at Hobbyland. I don't remember what rocket kit I chose, but I do remember that after building it, it sputtered instead of soaring into the sky like my classmate's rockets. I learned rockets weren't my bag, and that my mom's crafting wasn't for me. I learned that there was a whole part of my brain I hadn't been using, and to this day I create art, quilts, fabric projects, mixed media art, and occasionally tinker with electronics. All thanks to Mr. Shaw, and my mom not being able to take me to Hobbyland.
At this point, you're probably wondering what this has to do with SparkFun! We'd like to put a few of our basic retail items in mom and pop type hobby, electronic, and fabric stores around the country. What store is near and dear to you? Hobbyland is this place to me, and this is the kind of store we are looking for. Think of a place you would take your niece, nephew, son, or daughter to to pick up a few items to teach them the basics of tinkering. It could be a hobby store that sells everything from art supplies to rocket kits. It could be a fabric store that could carry a few of our LilyPad items. It could be an electronics store in your hometown that could carry our BigTime Watch Kit, Simon Says Soldering Kit, or our Tool Kit. Heck, it could be a type of store we haven't even thought of!
We already have our retail line at Micro Center, and because we don't want to bite off more than we can chew, one company with multiple locations carrying our full retail line is enough for us!
We want to hear from you! Who should we talk to in your town? Leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.