While many people under the sun want the tent sale in a location near them, the prices are so cheap at this location as the yarn is moved from the warehouse and directly outside of the tent. There is no shipping or extra handling involved. Therefore the discontinued and overstocked yarn can be offered at the prices you see on the boxes.
This starts in September 2014, May 2015, May 2016 and now this past sale in September 2016. For a week each sale, selected products are moved to the tent for the hope that yarn lovers congregate and take the yarn home with them at a fraction of regular retail prices.
Set Up the Tent, They Will Come
The tent takes 2.5 days to set up. A dedicated team of about 6 – 12 people participate in getting the tent in order. Jan, the manager of the tent, spends months in advance planning and the layout of the tent is determined. She does a terrific job in setting the layout in keeping yarns that are related together.
See all of our pictures here in this album on Flickr.
Crocheters and knitters come from many surrounding states to this sale. This last sale, we had as far as Florida, Albama, Tennessee, New York City, New Jersey, Virgina, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia and more.
In the history of the tent sale, we had people as far as Michigan, Oregon, Arizona and California. Usually during the sale when people come from distances, they incorporate the visit with a vacation and proceed onto where they are going or this is the last stop before they return home.
The majority of the visitors are existing Crochet Crowders. This would be a convention of The Crochet Crowd if you were to ever look at it from this point of view. Most people develop instant community connections and have The Crochet Crowd as the commonality between them.
Mikey, of The Crochet Crowd, aka me, has become known for being the Tent Sale Host for both locations in Listowel Ontario, Canada and here in Washington, North Carolina. It’s quite a task to be able to mix and mingle with so many people at one time. I inter mingle and listen to stories and pictures shared with me. Many times, I wish there was more time to have more conversations but realistically, many people have assembled to get their hands on the yarn. It’s first come, first serve.
I help to bring the Tent in Real Time Updates to the globe with live on location updates. Some stories and situations are so comical that you may never know what may come out of our mouths in real-time. It’s one of the best parts of the job, to be frank.
The Redemption Sale
In May 2016 during the 3rd Tent Sale, Spinrite Tent Team was caught off guard by the interest in the tent. With 2 cash registers and a team of 2 plus 3 temps, the tent was walloped really hard by crocheters and knitters. With 300 people in line before the tent opened. The line grew by the minute.
With the tent opening, the first 100 were allowed it, it took up to 2 hours to get into the tent to shop. Once the customers shopped, the line to check out was so long we moved it outside and snaked all over the property. With a debit machine that malfunctioned combined with massive purchases by each customer. It was a very long line to check out. In fact, at the peak period, there were over 280 customers in line to check out. Check out for some customers were as high as 6 hours wait.
Combined with direct sun and heat, it wasn’t fun for customers and the team was overwhelmed. Some customers were very unhappy and expressed it pretty vocally.
Customers literally grabbed the display boxes which had the prices on the boxes and took everything leaving the tent without display boxes for restocking. The tent was so busy, you couldn’t move inside to restock.
This is where the September 2016 came into play.
September 2016 Changes
The major issues to be addressed were cashiers, baggers and stockers. Without the right combo, you cannot pull off such a big sale and keep everyone happy if you don’t have enough people power.
Spinrite made the following changes:
- Increased cashiers to 4 instead of 2.
- Purchased another debit terminal to have transactions go through quicker instead of sharing 1 terminal.
- Increased the cash area to a personnel of 8 instead of 3.
- Increased the stockers to 4 instead of 2.
- Increased tent size to hold more yarn so restocking wasn’t so constant so the restocking team can stay out of the way of the customer.
The main goal was clear. When a customer is ready to check out, have more cashiers sharing 1 line to make the line move with make the customer happier. In the peak, the line up was about 20 – 30 minutes instead of 6 hours. With back up baggers to help organize at the table, the cashier is able to ring through the purchases faster and move the line along quickly.
So on top of the better organized tent and a team increase 5 to 12, they were able to serve people much quicker and improve on customer service. In fact, there were several social updates by the people who were attending giving kudos for better service. The goal was achieved.