JOANN is hoping their new concept store in Columbus, Ohio will leave guest inspired to tackle their crafty vision boards one project at a time. The grand opening unveiled their new store, with a Creator’s Studio inside, signaling a new direction for the company, one of the largest craft retail chains in the nation. JOANN currently has over 850 stores in the United States.
The new JOANN concept store has many of the same products and notions that have been used in sewing and crafting for centuries, but here the store is embracing technology and trends in a big way with the hopes of bringing the tech-savvy, digital-first DIY community into the store for a special experience.
Renovations started in October of 2017 transforming this 40,117 square foot store into something that’s unlike any JOANN’s I’ve ever stepped into. Greeting me at the door is a personal shopper who reminds me that complimentary Starbucks’s is available all day. The smell of freshly baked cookies permeates the space (these are available on weekends and during special events) creating a homey atmosphere.
The store is a visually pleasing space worthy of selfies. On the back wall skeins of yarn go from floor to ceiling. The scrapbooking section is decorated with paper masks crafted by a Cleveland artist. Signage in the store has been minimalized and replaced with bright vivid images of project trends that inspire. Essentials like adhesives and scissors are attractively displayed along circular units, rather than long aisles, that are more easily shoppable. In comparisons to a JOANN’s of the same size, there’s a decrease in overall selection and inventory with more space devoted to community and more tables to spread out projects. The seasonal merchandise, candy, and impulse items typically found near the register at JOANN stores weren’t available.
Located in the heart of the store is the Creator’s Studio, a community-driven classroom and event space. It’s sleek and modern and is the type of creative studio you’ve been dreaming of if you’ve ever dreamed of working in a big city remodeled loft. This space can be rented for private parties with seating up to 50. Day to day it’s used for in-store workshops and social gatherings and is open to anyone needing to spread out with their works-in-progress. You can also access the newest of creative technologies ranging from a Grace long-arm quilting machine, a Cricut Maker, and a Glowforge laser printer. Sign up for a class to learn to use these machines or insert a thumb drive with a file you crafted at home and rent the machines for an hourly fee.
JOANN recently acquired Creativebug, an online class company with DIY tutorials, and the Creator’s Studio houses two flat screen TV’s where in-store customers can watch classes and then practice in real life. Customers will be able to surf Creativebug’s website and find how-to videos to watch.
The Creator’s Studio will also play host to a handful of Handmade Markets, where local Ohio makers will be able to sell their wares during normal shopping hours (JOANN will not take a cut of the sales. 100% of earnings will go directly to the makers.) JOANN is using the Creator’s Studio to market its JOANN+ program launched earlier this year which offers businesses and organizations bulk purchasing and discount pricing.
There are kiosks throughout the store displaying Pinterest-inspired craft projects to provide shoppers with inspiration. Samples of finished projects along with take-home instructional sheets and a supply lists are also provided. If you’re uncertain as to which craft is right for you try taking the digital personality quiz which syncs you to a computer-generated craft trend.
For the fabric minded shoppers there’s a newly designed “cut bar.” Instead of waiting in line at the cutting counter, enter your name on a touch-screen device. You’ll be added to a digital queue and get a notification on your phone when your fabric is ready.
For projects that are just beyond the scope of the average crafter, like custom tailoring or upholstery, there’s a new Sew & Go area. From zipper repair to large home dec projects, hire an in-store seamstress right at JOANN to fulfill your requests.
It’s hard to predict is whether the JOANN staff will be able to keep up with the new technology and whether JOANN customers will actually use it. Amanda Hayes, Manager of Corporate Communications at JOANN says the company is working on it. “We’ve recently held trainings at our corporate office for Store Managers to receive in-depth learnings on new machines and other product technology. They then take that knowledge back to their stores in the field and train their teams on the functions, so that all customer questions can be accurately addressed. In addition, we’ve launched a customer feedback program through a platform called Medallia, in which we receive customer comments in real time so that our store teams, as well as field leaders, can respond to customers instantaneously and take action as needed. “
JOANN is making a clear effort to reimagine the in-store experience by creating a visually pleasing, highly engaging, and more efficient concept store to try new ideas. Although it’s not clear yet how successful this new JOANN model will be, the people who were shopping around me were very excited about what they were seeing.
This looks amazing! I hope it is a viable concept and is the inspiration to update all JoAnne’s stores.
Many wishes to JoAnn’s employees,
SWEET ! Need them in EVERY STATE !
I agree. I wish they have in New York City.
Off topic and completely left field; but are you related to James Reynolds Jr. (Saginaw, Mi) by any chance?
Nice coverage. I can’t call myself a Crafter but that score is very impressive and it’s nice to read a review of it from a maker’s perspective.
This is HUGE! I’d love to see this take off!
Which store are they doing this to? I’m not your biggest fan these days but I do want to check it out.
Right now I believe this is just a concept store in Columbus, Ohio.
But which one? There are so many. No address in the article…. They had a Polaris store already, but is this a remodel of THAT store or did they open another close by?
It’s the Polaris Parkwat Store. They redid the existing store. It’s beautiful now!
They are also in the process of redoing the Sawmill Pkwy store in Dublin, Oh. The store clerks said so about 2 months ago.
Would love to have the opportunity to introduce your products to the South African market.
Polaris parkway in Columbus, Ohio. Right across from the mall if your from around here .
Yes I’m coming to Columbus in two weeks for a conference would love the address
This is currently the only store to house the Creators Studio and all the tech concepts. JOANN’s is listening to feedback and bring some of the Columbus features to other stores.
Is this location hiring? If so, how much is the starting rate?
Please contact JOANN directly for this information.
The store is at Polaris! Fantastic shopping experience!
It’s in Polaris!
Desperately need a Joann’s in the Alliance area of Fort Worth Texas. This type of store is one that would do well in the area as the local library has also embraced the technology trend and library patrons have embraced it.
Rumor has it, this concept cost 4MM. That is alot of money to update 850 stores, but then again, I’d only expect to see this in a few select markets.
“…there’s a decrease in overall selection and inventory” That’s already the worst part about our local JoAnns. I have to drive 45 minutes to get 6o a store that actually has a moderately decent papercrafting selection…and they only reset those with new product in what seems like every 3 years. Rotate selection more, please. I can surf Pinterest at home.
Yeah, that jumped out at me too. JoAnn’s is the only craft store in my area. The closest other stores are an hour away. I already have to drive that hour or order online (Yuck!) for certain crafting supplies. Please don’t decrease selection and inventory!
I’m just now reading this info…i went to the store yesterday to craft with a friend. That “decreased inventory” did NOT appear to be the case at all! I had been in Joanns in Easton Towne Center Friday & its big, but I was so disappointed with their paper crafting election…as well as the unorganized bead accessories section. When I stepped into this newly remodeled place (30minutes from where I live), it was so heavenly & nothing was lacking. The only negative thing I noticed was narrow isles. You won’t be able to get two of the new big, beautiful carts down there at the same time…thats nit really huge in my book. There was the most happy planner stuff (selections) I’d ever seen!! Lovely, simply Lovely!
We live in Indianapolis and see a road trip in our future! Love the improvements….the seamstress idea is ingenious! Really hope the concept works and you come to south side of Indianapolis next!!
Please do this in Round Rock, Texas.
Absolute love this! I believe this concept would be very well received in Lancaster, PA with all our quilters and crafters. I’ll be eager to hear of the progress of implementing more of these style stores around the country. Thanks for thinking outside the typical box.
This is an excellent concept and it will work! I owned a craft store
for 33 1/2 years and recently retired but still active in the crafting
community. My only suggestion: Hire skilled crafters and artists
only to be able to “professionally” assist customers. You could
add the services without having to remodel all your stores to
accelerate the program. Congratulations…way to go!
Joyce, you are right on the money when it comes to hiring skilled crafters as employees. Many years ago I was an assistant manager in the Huber Heights, Ohio Ben Franklin store. The company was looking for a new direction, as large superstores were putting the small five-and-dimes out of business. Our store was the experiment for Ben Franklin to transition to a craft store, modeling somewhat after Michaels. The manager was very smart and asked everyone who applied for a job there to bring in samples of what they knew how to do. Applicants were even borrowing gifts back that they had given family, as well as what they owned, to show all their skills. The store was a huge success and led the way for the future of Ben Franklin in the craft store genre. We employees would teasingly remind the boss that it was our knowledge and skills that were the reason behind our store’s success, a fact he wholeheartedly believed and admitted.
Karen, I loved the Ben Franklin store we had here! I think the reason I survived for 33 1/2 years in the craft business was because me and my staff were able to assist every customer with their crafting needs. We had classes going all the time and
we always kept up to date inventory. It was pretty much a 24/7 commitment but
I so enjoyed it! We still sell our stamp line on-line but now that we don’t have the
store, we have a little more free time to enjoy some travel and grandkids!
I manage the fabric department at a Ben Franklin now. 🙂 The skillset of the employees is what separates us from the big box stores. It will be interesting if this concept works and if their customer base will be willing to pay the difference in price that they will have to charge for the services.
You are so right. Having someone cut fabric who doesn’t know how to sew can be aggravating! I have watched customers who wanted to felt their knitting project be sold acrylic yarn! And no you don’t need to buy floss when you are buying a $30 cross stitch kit.
And that’s just the stuff I’ve heard and know something about!
I would travel an hour or two for store like this! Fabulous!! I wish other stores would do more of this as well!
This could be good but I think you could start by staffing your current stores better
I agree! JoAnn’s has become short staffed, long lines, stacks of bolts waiting to be put away.
I’ve given up shopping there. Always a sign, Help Wanted.
Staffing and staff training are both needed! Ultimately Joann is going to have to pay competitive wages and hire employees with knowledge of what they sell and the crafts they are used for. Otherwise they need to hire people in the industry to work with thei store employees so they have answers for basic questions from their customers!
Otherwise this is an awesome concept and I hope it is used in all their stores!
I like this concept, but don’t like that the variety and inventory of products will be decreased. You’ve already gotten rid of most of the paper crafting things in my local shop, so to have even less, would provide even more reason to shop elsewhere. Not to mention that the store is barely staffed as it is now, I can’t imagine having to staff even more positions. That’s being said, your new concept is amazing. I love the idea of being able to go in and rent a machine when needed instead of having to buy it and store it. Plus, having the seamstress right in the store would be so fabulous, especially if things can be done while you shop. I also like the classroom space. I’d be interested to see this come to somewhere near me, just outside Chicago.
When is one coming to Central Kentucky?!? I really want to road trip to see this one but would love one local to me!
Having enough well-trained staff on hand, and a store that is clean and well-organized is more important that free Starbucks and cookies all day. Recently I went to Michaels to buy a couple of things. Could not get them, because there were problems at the register. Once the OTHER employee in the store (there were only two) became involved, she asked for a price check. THERE WAS NO ONE to do a price check!! And this was after I’d already waited in line several minutes. I left without buying. Companies that are willing to pay for good employees are way ahead of the game, even without all the other bells and whistles.
I know about understaffed, My local Joanns is always understaffed. In there yesterday and a both checkers had to leave their registers for a price check. I try not to go to Joann’s because they are poorly staffed and poorly run. I buy mostly online. Joann’s is only for emergencies.
Wow. The local Joann’s here in Florida is in dire need of updating. The ceiling leaks so bad that when it rains, there are many buckets everywhere! The staff at that store needs some of the latest information to help it’s customers. I go there to shop as a last resort. To keep brick and mortar stores, they MUST keep up to date and stay current!
Umm, the “less inventory” part bother me. I wish they would increase clothing fabric selection. Nice clothing fabric is almost non-existent in mine.
Yes! Better apparel fabric and a larger inventory appeal to me more than the touchscreens and so forth. As someone above said, I can surf Pinterest at home!
I think having trained staff who know how to cut fabric is a good place to start. So many times the fabric cutters almost stretch the fabric to make it to the mark, and don’t seem to understand grain lines . If they want to get serious quilters, the single best change they can do is offer quilt store fabric. But as I write this……NO, don’t put my local quilt shops out of business!!!!
Naples, Fl needs one of these! Wowza!
They recently updated the JoAnn Fabrics closest to me and it is amazing!! It’s nothing like this concept store, unfortunately….but it’s a DRASTIC improvement over the former store which was tiny and depressing. They even have a wonderful yarn and embroidery floss selection in addition to mountains of fabrics. I’m thrilled with the new store, and I don’t even see a need to go back to my local Michael’s now that this store has opened.
Joann would you consider bringing all your goodness into the UK i think it would be an awsome move
While the store is beautiful, they did not make it easily accessible. Most aisles and sections are so narrow that only one person can pass through at a time. If you’re in a wheelchair, no one is getting around you, and in some sections there’s not enough room to turn the chair around. Seriously disappointing! This was an EPIC FAIL.
Our local Joann’s is dismal. Dirty, dark, depressing, and understaffed. As the owner of a local fabric store, I sincerely hope it never gets this upgrade. 😬 But my own interests aside, this is change long overdue. I don’t think a smaller selection is a problem if they are skimming it off the bottom end…there is some serious dreck in their stores.
It will be interesting to see if the new concept takes off and who likes it & why, & if in practice it is actually put together well, or not.
Personally I don’t want coffee or cookies (fattening for the new garments I want to make) or Pinterest browsing etc when I shop. I want selection, from stuff for cheap quick things, to the quality stuff, project depending. And I want knowledgeable, available staff if/when I need them.
Please come to Canada and open one in Windsor. This store looks totally amazing.
So many Joannnes I go into are sloppy; I can’t image the store looking like this.
I just hope the employees can manage it! Some are very knowledgeable but others only measure and cut or stock shelves. It’s always good when they can talk intelligently about a product! I hope they bring some of this to our new store! Looks very inviting!
How about scissors sharpening? I was disappointed when my store discontinued this service
We have many craft stores in our area. No nice fabric stores left. Don’t forget about those of us out there who still want to purchase quality garment fabric.
If you expect experts, then expect to pay the employees more than minimum wage. Also, you can’t always expect someone who sews, to know everything or even something about knitting, scrapbooking, etc. This is a nice idea, but renovate the stores already in existent, pay the employees better wages, not the bare minimum, quit understaffing. That’s where the money is better spent. Most people have cell phone that can browse Pinterest..why kiosks? Train the employees for more than two hours…so many improvements that can be made and in return there will be happy customers.
I worked at JoAnn’s many years ago and sadly have seen a steady decline in the quality of the fabric, trims, laces and notions. The aisles are increasingly narrow and difficult to get down with a cart. The employees are poorly paid and corporate seems to control even the thermostat! I wish that JoAnn’s would go back to being a nice fabric store and offer higher quality items along with every day quality fabrics. The new store sounds wonderful, but I hope that it is a real improvement and not just a gimmick.
I personally don’t like the new concept store at all. I specifically went to Joann’s because they had the best selection of yarns with the best prices. I went recently to purchase Vanna’s Choice and guess what? They don’t carry it anymore in store. I was extremely disappointed as I love that yarn; after asking multiple employees, they didn’t notice it was gone, didn’t know when they stopped carrying it, and didn’t know if they ever would again. Another downfall of fancy new stores: employees don’t get paid well and don’t know their stock.
I’ve recently gotten into crocheting socks and was perusing the website to find out what sock yarn they’re carrying (lesson learned after the Vanna’s Choice incident). The answer is little to none. There is a TON of Red Heart Super Saver and Caron One Pound to make that fancy wall though. What’s the point of making a store “new and improved” if said store stops carrying what many people went there for???
To me, this store is now useless. I don’t care about fancy touchscreens and cookies and a modern space to make stuff, I care that the things I need and that the store used to carry are there. If the idea is to remodel all of the Joann’s this way, then I’m going to find a new place to yarn shop.
Joann’s seems to be going the way of Michaels, who acquired Pat Catans and then effectively shuttered them. Smaller businesses actually care about their staff, their customers, and try to know what they’re selling. I don’t know where I’ll yarn shop now, but it likely won’t be Joann’s or Michaels.