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How Ordering Yarn, Notions, etc. Works for an LYS

One of the most common questions I receive from customers is "Can you order x for me?" Unless the order is for a full bag of yarn or part of one of the special vendor DropShip programs, the answer is going to be "no." Here's why: when a retail store orders stock, we generally are not able to order one or two of any particular item. Rather, because we are ordering at wholesale rates, we must purchase a particular lot or quantity of stock at any given time. So, for example, if I was going to place an order for malabrigo Rios in the colorway "Pines," I would need to purchase a full bag of that color; and a full bag of Rios consists of ten skeins. Or, if I were to order Plymouth Hot Cakes in "Autumn Mix," I would need to purchase the full bag of Autumn Mix, which is six cakes of yarn. Similarly, if I order needles or notions, there is a minimum number that I need to purchase of those things and cannot simply order one specialty size or brand for a customer. Some vendors will often have overall purchase quantity minimums, too, where LYS will be required to purchase anywhere from, say, $300 - $2000 worth of merchandise per order, or perhaps 40 - 100 - 200 skeins per order. This is because LYS are small, independently-owned, specialty retail outfits. We don't function the way big box craft stores do where they place a request in the system for one of their fellow locations to send them one of x, y, or z because a customer would like it. Rather, LYS carry particular contracts with our vendors that are mutually beneficial where they are able to sell a particular quantity of inventory at one time and we are able to restock a particular quantity of inventory. We don't have a network to draw on or the ordering power of a big box store. What this means is that while we might like to be able to order you your special US 50 knitting needles, unless we already have a contract with that vendor, and we agree to purchase, say, a lot of 10 pairs of needles along with a particular minimum amount for the overall order, then, no, we can't do individual orders for that pair of US 50s. And, if it isn't something we normally carry, even if we do have a contract with a vendor, then you would need to purchase all 10 pairs of US 50s because there's probably not enough demand for us to justify having 9 sets in stock. With the ease of Internet orders and web-based stores like Amazon, I know it can be confusing as to why your LYS can't just order you one skein of Cascade 220 in "Shire" without having to purchase an entire bag of "Shire." But, the truth is, small retail stores just don't work the same way, and we can't order the way that individual shoppers can.

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