Quilts, Inc. notified exhibitors today that they will not be issuing refunds for Spring Quilt Market which was scheduled for May 15-17 in Pittsburgh. The event was cancelled on March 17 due to COVID-19.
In an email sent by Rose Reyes, Director of Exhibitor Services, and signed by Founder and Director Emeritus Karey Bresenhan, exhibitors were told that 50% of their payment had already been spent on non-refundable deposits Quilts, Inc. has made and can not be returned. The remaining amount would be rolled over to future Quilt Market events: 25% to for exhibitor fees at Fall Quilt Market in Houston and 25% for fees at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis. If an exhibitor can’t attend one of these shows, the fee coverage will continue to roll over until Fall 2022.
“After our reluctant but necessary cancellation of the Pittsburgh Market, we have been working steadily to determine and imagine what’s next,” the email read. It goes out on to emphasize various clauses in the exhibitor contract that legally allow for this financial arrangement.
Change to show cancellation insurance
The email also explains that there would have been funds enough to offer refunds had the company’s show cancellation insurance taken effect. “We have carried this expensive protection for years, including a special, and even more costly, clause to protect against infectious diseases. This insurance would have provided the necessary funds to make refunds, which was its primary purpose,” it states.
“However, when we called March 18 to discuss filing our claim, we discovered that as of January 1, before the Coronavirus hit the U.S. and before most of us were even aware of the danger ahead, the insurance provider had added a waiver of all losses attributable to the Coronavirus.” Quilts, Inc. is apparently investigating a class action lawsuit against the insurance company.
All retailer buyers have had their tickets to the show fully refunded.
Quilts, Inc. is planning an education-focused virtual event at virtualquiltmarket.com for some point in the future, although the date and details have yet to be announced.
Note: The original final section of this article has been removed and posted below as a comment by the author.
UPDATE: April 14, 2020 Quilts, Inc. secured a funder and will be issuing full refunds to all exhibitors for Spring Market 2020. See our story here.
Co-founder and President
Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. Abby has an undergraduate degree in history from Johns Hopkins University and a masters degree in education from Harvard. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts with her family.