Michaels Holdings, LLC, is the largest arts and crafts retail chain in North America, with more than one thousand stores in 49 states and Canada. Starting from a single store in Dallas, Texas, in 1976, Michaels is now a parent corporation that owns subsidiary chains. Stores feature products that include art supplies, custom framing, craft supplies, in-store demonstrations and special events including birthday parties.
Retail Store Merchandise and Services
Michaels offers a vast array of art supplies, craft items, dried flowers, fabrics and accessories, sewing, yarn and needlecraft supplies, framing, scrapbook and photo album supplies, and household and home décor supplies and accessories. Although Michaels features products and product support on-line, there are no on-line sales through the Michaels website. Its current slogan, adopted in 2009, is “Where Creativity Happens.” The original slogan, “The Arts & Crafts Store,” changed in 2007 to “Imaginate.”
The website, www.michaels.com, offers support to crafters through on-line videos and webisodes, tips and ideas, display of crafts made by customers for inspiration to other crafters and how-to project information. Customers can create an on-line account through the My Michaels program to be notified of events, special offers and to track products of interest identified by the customer.
Michaels stores offer custom framing, in-store demonstrations for specialty projects such as jewelry-making and scrapbook construction, Wilton cake decorating classes, and other special activities. Birthday parties can be organized for a fee through a special service at Michaels; associates help family members or party sponsors to select themes and materials for invitations, party favors and craft games. Michaels provides the venue and cleanup, while party sponsors provide refreshments.
Michaels specializes in seasonal crafts. For major seasons such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, special products are ordered to support customer demand, and seasonal employees are hired to provide customer support.
Special lines and products affiliated with Michaels include Martha Stewart Crafts and “Stuff by Hilary Duff,” both introduced in 2007, as well as Paula Deen cookware and home products. Jo Pearson, Michaels creative expert, has created webisodes that feature do-it-yourself projects, craft tips and other helpful information for consumers. American Girl Crafts became an exclusive line with Michaels in 2009.
The Knack is an affiliate program for children and teachers, featuring special projects, free downloadable printable coloring pages and stencils, articles on children and creativity and child development.
Michaels was founded by Michael J. Dupey, with a single store in a mall in Dallas, Texas, in 1976. By 1982, several stores under the Michaels Stores, Inc. had been established, with annual revenues approximately $10 million; a controlling interest in the chain was purchased by Illinois businessman Samuel Wyly. Michaels was first offered for public trading in 1984, with sixteen stores.
A combination of acquisitions of competitor chains and a targeted marketing program resulted in the establishment of more than 500 stores by 1995. Through this campaign, Michaels became the largest specialty arts and craft retail chain in North America.
The next few years saw corporate management focus on refining in-store and corporate-wide merchandise tracking, upgrading the restocking and store presentation systems and centralizing management in order to maximize profits and reduce redundancy. Targeted sales, a focus on seasonal offerings of merchandise and additional in-store temporary help, and directed management strategies resulted in a great increase in profits. Sales grew from $1.24 billion in 1996 to more than $3 billion in 2003.
The corporation was purchased from Wyly in 2006 by Bain Capital, LLC, and the Blackstone Group in a merger. Michaels Holdings, LLC was created and the stock was no longer publicly traded. The 1000th store was opened in 2008.
Several subsidiary chains are owned by Michaels and operate in various states nation-wide. Aaron Brothers specializes in custom framing, photo albums, photo frames and art supplies. More than 160 stores are located in nine states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Georgia.
Artistree serves as the wholesale manufacturing arm that operates from City of Industry, California, Coppell, Texas, and Kernersville, North Carolina. The plants manufacture frames and matting for use in Aaron Brothers and Michaels stores.
Star Decorators’ Wholesale Warehouse specializes in dried flowers and accessories, ribbon and containers. The line caters to professionals in floral design, interior decorating, and party and event planners. Based in Dallas, Texas, it operates several retail stores in Texas and one in Georgia.
Michaels corporate headquarters is housed in Irving, Texas. Seven distribution centers are strategically placed throughout the United States in California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
Discounts, Rebates and Coupons
Discounts, rebates, sales and coupons are available for Michaels through both on-line and paper sources.
The Michaels website offers weekly discount and coupons specials. By entering a zip code or city and state, the featured advertisement for that area is displayed. Customers can also sign up to receive e-mail alerts for weekly ads. Typically, weekly ads feature in-store discounts, regular and seasonal clearances and coupons for specialty items or services such as custom framing. The weekly ad is configured like a newspaper and allows the user to turn the page and read each entry.
An on-line special printable coupon is also often featured as part of the weekly ad. Coupons may be limited to particular products or services, and may have specific expiration dates. The main page of the website displays coupons and special offers as well. By signing up for Michaels e-mails, regular special offers and exclusive offers for customers subscribing through the internet are displayed.
Other websites that feature Michaels coupons include:
Ultimate Coupons.com: http://www.ultimatecoupons.com
MommySavesBig printable coupons: http://printable-coupons.blogspot.com,
Crazy About Deals: http://www.mycraftcoupons.com/2010/07/printable-michaels-coupon.html.
The Knack, www.theknackkids.com, offers a program for parents and children, as well as a subsidiary program for teachers, to join for alerts about special sales, discounts and coupons. By signing up, a one-time discount is offered. Free activities are listed on-line. Free project ideas and how-to’s are also provided.
Paper Coupon, Discount and Promotional Offers
Michaels publishes weekly ads for in-store discounts, sales and coupons in local newspapers and newspaper weekly supplements. Clippable coupons are often included in these advertising campaigns. Coupons may be time-limited or restricted to particular products.
Special in-store demonstrations are held as part of seasonal promotions as well as for popular craft projects throughout the year. Free in-store events are published through local newspapers, through Michaels on-line newsletters and other promotional materials.
Michaels often features discounts and sales on seasonal items during the peak of the season; deep discounts on seasonal items are usually offered after the season has ended. For serious crafters, this allows great savings on items that can be used for other projects or kept for projects during the following year.
The Knack sponsors free family activities that are held in local stores, such as 4th of July pinwheel design, or modeled handprints for Grandparent’s Day. Teacher events allow parents, children and teachers to make bulletin boards, bookmarks, signs and other materials for the classroom. The Knack provides the space, tools and the cleanup; for some projects supplies are purchased, while for others, materials are included in the event.