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9 Retailers offering free classes and workshops

9 Retailers offering free classes and workshops

George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com It's true that you never stop learning, but many of us never sit in a classroom again after graduation. You can ch

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woman at sewing class
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It’s true that you never stop learning, but many of us never sit in a classroom again after graduation. You can change it. Many retailers offer free classes and workshops on a variety of topics. We are not talking algebra here – no tests or grades – but useful and entertaining topics that will help you right away as soon as you walk out the store’s door.

Many stores have turned to online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic, but recently in-store classes have resumed in some locations. We emphasize free classes, but stores can also offer more intensive courses that charge a fee or require a payment for supplies. Note that although many businesses also offer classes for children, we focus here on classes for adults.

Here’s a look at retailers offering free classes and workshops.

1. Michaels

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Michaels is an artist’s Disneyland. I love the craft sets, baking accessories and markers in every color of the rainbow. The store also offers free and premium online classes, although premium classes do charge a fee. Some of the recent free offers include a class in painting, one in glasets and another where you create a carrying case.

To find out more: Visit the Michaels Classes and Events website

2. Appeal

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Let’s face it: Technology is changing just too fast for many people to keep up. Apple helps with regularly scheduled, free educational workshops that cover everything from how to take a better iPhone photo to personalizing your Apple Watch. Some sessions are virtual, others are offered in an Apple store near you.

To find out more: Visit Apple’s website.

Williams Sonoma

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Williams Sonoma is a great place for those who want to enhance their home-made game with appliances, equipment and even gourmet ingredients. Not all of their classes and workshops are free, but check your local store’s schedule. Cookbook writers and chefs visit regularly for meet-and-greet events and demonstrate some of their recipes. My store in Seattle, for example, will soon host Joy the Baker, who will make her distinctive mocha coffee cake and peach and raspberry crostata.

To find out more: Williams Sonoma offers both virtual and in-store opportunities, both of which are explained on its website.

4. Microsoft

Microsoft Windows 11
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Microsoft used to have retail stores similar to Apple stores. All of those physical stores closed for good during 2020, but the software company still offers virtual classes and workshops. Students can take a class to improve their basic skills in a program like Microsoft Outlook or learn how to make a simple arcade game in the company’s MakeCode Arcade platform.

To find out more: Visit the Microsoft Workshops and Training Web site.

5. Home Depot

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Home ownership can be intimidating for those who were not born with a hammer in their hand. From the comfort of your own couch, you can hone your DIY skills with The Home Depot’s virtual workshops, which cover topics such as lawn preparation, drywall repair, painting and more.

To find out more: Visit The Home Depot’s workshop website.


Lowe's Store
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If DIY looks scary, check out one of Lowe’s virtual or in-store workshops. You can learn tips and tricks for interior painting and coloring, how to install a paving porch and even what tools you need to tackle the do-it-yourself world.

To find out more: Visit Lowe’s workshop website.

7. Joann

Fabric at a Joann store
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Joann is the place to go for sewing supplies, home decorating, storage solutions and craft kits. Many of their classes charge a small fee, but you can also take some video lessons for free. Topics include working with fibers, painting abstract flowers and making a carrying case.

To find out more: Visit the Joann Classes and Events website.

8. REI

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Camping can be as simple or as complex as you want. REI costs for some classes, but other virtual classes are free, including basic backpacking, family camping, and hammock camping guides.

To find out more: Visit the REI Classes and Opportunities website.


David Bokuchava / Shutterstock.com

Sephora stores are chock-full of makeup, skin care, hair products and tools, but not everyone is born to just know how to beautify with it. Sephora therefore offers free virtual classes. Topics include hair tricks and tips, skin needs, makeup and more, and some classes even give away free products to some lucky contestants.

To find out more: Visit the Sephora Events website.

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