It's funny how each craft store has its own vibe.
Hobby Lobby, being the vast and eclectic store that it is, is filled with large aisles that you often do not have to share with other shoppers, and has employees who are helpful, but not too helpful. I don't know if I've ever been asked if I need assistance, but when I need to have fabric cut, there is always someone there.
Michael's is definitely a large store, but I still always feel like everything is crammed in, and I always feel like I'm missing something because it is being overshadowed by seven million other items that are all within five inches of each other, and I love it! The customer service is always very pleasant (with the exception of one store manager who is always in a rush and only gives half answers, ex: "If we have it, it will be over by the scrapbooking section," not too vague, huh?!?!). One of the Michael's stores by my house always manages to be playing music that I love, so there I am for 60+ minutes bopping along while I dig through their merchandise; it's as though they have scanned my brain upon entry and know exctly what it takes to keep me there for the maximum amount of time. The seemingly customized playlist usually involves some Billy Joel-esque soundtrack to keep me company as I wander through a wonderous aisle that is magically stocked with tempting treasures waiting to be unearthed from the rubble that is the clearance section.
Jo-Ann. This used to be my go-to craft store, especially before I moved to my current town. My original experience with Jo-Ann in my youth was a kind of messy, mostly fabric store that also contained a lot of seasonal chachkies that were usually on a pretty good sale. I was awe-stricken when I went into the Bloomingdale, IL location. My first thought was, "This is Jo-Ann on crack!" All of a sudden I stepped into a brightly-lit, well-organized wonderland that had an abundance of materials for any project you could think of and a practically hidden clearance section that made me feel like I was busting into their secret stash. My heart would race as I plunked fifty cent stickers and scrapbooking supplies into my basket. The experience was intimate, even though the store was huge. Every time I'd go it felt like I was having an alien encounter because I'd be convinced that I'd only been in there for ten minutes, but 40 minutes later I'd come out with a huge bag that I could not hide and would discover a very unhappy husband who had been waiting in the car the whole time. Oops! SO, this may sound insignigicant, but about a year ago they re-arranged the store, and it totally messed up my Jo-Ann groove. I definitely still frequent the store, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their app for my smartphone that is filled with awesome coupons, but I'm still hoping that they re-re-arrange my favorite location and return it to its previous awesomeness.
So now, let me tell you about my newest temptation, Paper Source. It isn't really a craft store, perse, but it contains so many unique and fun materials that inspire endless projects. If Archiver's and Papyrus had a baby, it would look just like Paper Source. Last week I took a little trip to the Paper Source located in Oak Brook, IL and quickly had to come to terms with the fact that it is my new guilty pleasure. The boutique feel draws you in as soon as you see the gorgeously dressed windows. The thing is, you don't go to Paper Source for something specific, you go there for inspiration. I especially love the people who work there, they exude a sweet coolness that I never thought could be applied to crafting, and the best part is that they were of all ages. My favorite score from this trip were teal 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper that are shimmery with a swirly red design. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but I love the color combo, and part of me just wants to frame them and hang them on my bedroom wall. Did I mention that I picked them out from their 50% off section? Love it!