Fabric retailer Jo-Ann has a new store prototype. Here’s how it looks

Yet another company is refreshing its stores in 2018 in a bid to keep shoppers engaged and coming back for the experience — not just the products sold there.

Fabric and craft retailer Jo-Ann, having been around for more than 70 years and now running more than 800 shops across the U.S., is rolling out a new store prototype later this week that aims to keep consumers around even if they aren’t buying anything.

The goal for many companies today is to create a memorable experience and a place where customers can do things — rather than just focusing on ringing up sales. The industry is evolving as e-commerce brands are attracting more attention and threatening those retailers that have a stronger footing in bricks and mortar. Amazon and other websites are stealing market share from smaller brands that don’t differentiate themselves.

“We consider ourselves more than just a place to buy things,” Jill Soltau, CEO of Jo-Ann Stores, told CNBC. “We want to bring people together. … We want to learn.”

A redesigned Jo-Ann store, which will open first near the company’s headquarters of Columbus, Ohio, includes a studio to host events and craft classes, touchscreen kiosks that pull up craft projects from Pinterest, and a custom sewing service. The company said it also hopes the store will serve as a hub for local artists looking for a space to share their own work.

“This is just the first step,” Soltau said about the opening, which is set to take place this Thursday. The goal is to bring the concept to other cities once Jo-Ann is able to work through any kinks to the model, she added.

Below is a closer look at Jo-Ann’s new concept shop for fabrics and crafts.

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