9 retailers that offer free classes and workshops
It’s true that you never stop learning, but many of us never sit in a classroom again after graduation day. You can change that. Many retailers offer free classes and workshops on a variety of topics. We’re not talking about algebra here – no tests or grades – but useful and entertaining topics that will help you immediately once you walk through the store door.
Many stores have shifted to online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic, but recently in-store classes have resumed in some locations. We emphasize free classes, but stores may also offer more intensive classes that are paid or require payment for supplies. Note that while many companies also offer courses for children, here we focus on courses for adults.
Here is an overview of retailers offering free classes and workshops.
Michaels is an artist’s Disneyland. I love craft kits, baking accessories, and markers in every color of the rainbow. The store also offers free and premium online courses, although premium courses are chargeable. Some of the recent free offerings include a painting class, a glass etching class, and one where you create a tote bag.
To learn more: Visit the Michaels courses and events Web page
Let’s face it: technology is moving too fast for many people to keep up. Apple helps with free, regularly scheduled educational workshops covering everything from how to take a better iPhone photo to personalizing your Apple Watch. Some sessions are virtual, others are offered at an Apple Store near you.
To learn more: Visit Apple Web page.
3. Williams Sonoma
Williams Sonoma is a great place for those who want to up their home cooking game with appliances, gadgets, and even gourmet ingredients. Not all of their classes and workshops are free, but check your local store’s schedule. Cookbook authors and chefs often come to meet-and-greet events and showcase some of their recipes. For example, my Seattle store will soon be home to Joy the Baker, who will be making her Mocha Coffee Cake and Peach and Raspberry Crostata.
Microsoft had retail stores similar to Apple stores. All these physical stores permanently closed in 2020, but the software company is still offering virtual classes and workshops. Students can take a course to improve their basic skills in a program such as Microsoft Outlook or learn how to create a simple arcade game on the company’s MakeCode Arcade platform.
To learn more: Visit Microsoft workshops and training Web page.
5. Home Depot
Home ownership can be daunting for those who weren’t born with a hammer in their hand. From the comfort of your couch, you can hone your DIY skills with The Home Depot’s virtual workshops, covering topics like lawn prep, drywall repair, painting and more.
To learn more: Visit the Home Depot workshop webpage.
If DIY seems daunting, check out one of Lowe’s virtual or in-store workshops. You can learn tips and tricks for interior painting and staining, how to install a paver patio, and even what tools you need to venture into the DIY world.
To learn more: Visit Lowe’s workshop webpage.
Joann is the place to go for sewing supplies, home decor, storage solutions and craft kits. Many of their courses are paid, but you can also take video courses for free. Topics include working with fibers, painting abstract flowers, and making a tote bag.
To learn more: Visit the Joann courses and events web page.
Camping can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. REI charges for some courses, but other virtual courses are free, including basic guides to hiking, family camping, and camping with a hammock.
To learn more: Visit the REI courses and events webpage.
Sephora stores are full of makeup, skincare, hair products, and tools, but not everyone was born knowing how to beautify themselves with them. So Sephora is offering free virtual classes. Topics include tips and tricks for hair, skincare needs, makeup and more, and some classes even give away free products to a few lucky participants.
To learn more: Visit the Sephora Events Webpage.
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