Twenty Years!

Twenty years. Twenty years…already??? It hardly seems possible! I was so young and naïve when I started this business. I had been teaching elementary school and hating it. My friend Pat talked me into turning my hobby into a business, and Sew What? was born. My first store was a small, dark, back room of what had been a restaurant.  The ceilings were low and there wasn’t much lighting. Space was at a premium, with the book racks for the cross stitch pamphlets taking up the majority of the room in the store. A little table area welcomed classes. There were two small walls for fabrics and two free standing racks that fit a few more bolts. It was very small, but I put my whole heart into it. I remember applying for the business loan (I wore a blue three piece suit) and placing my first fabric order. Oh, how scared I was! I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Those first few years were a learning experience. I learned about scheduling, record keeping, inventory and ordering, as well as late payments and creditors! I made models by the dozen and offered them in classes. I opened at 9 in the morning staying open until 9 at night. I was open on Sundays, and watched most of the playoff games during the super bowl years by myself at work. I moved in with my dad to save on the mortgage, and picked up a second job (cleaning an office building) that I kept for the next 10 years. I took classes in art that have helped my quilting immensely. Slowly, the business grew and my customers started becoming friends. I adapted some things I had learned to refine my business, closing on Sundays and opening at 10am.

I was comfortable this way until 1999 when my landlord informed me they planned on demolishing my building. Options at this point included “Go Big” and “Go Home,” meaning go get a job with a nice paycheck on Fridays (a novel idea). Stressing and worrying did no good, and I decided I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t give “Go Big” a try, so I looked for a new home for Sew What?  We landed in our current spot, partly because the landlord didn’t care if I brought my dog, Bailey, to work with me. She was used to coming to work and would have really been unhappy if her circumstances were to change. The new space is twice as large, with MUCH better lighting and display areas.  We have an entire room devoted to the classes. I bought the professional quilting machine as a part of the “Go Big” plan. I was one of the first in the area with the longarm, and that part of the business has been very successful.

Overall, I am thrilled that I chose to stick it out.  The friends I have made over the years and the creativity that I have sparked mean more to me than you can imagine.  I love the thought that this little shop, that I created, out of my own hard work and stubborn refusal to quit, has touched many lives, enriching them by adding color and creativity. Twenty years has flown by. Looking at the photos of my grand opening party, and comparing them to what the store has become, I have to admit I’m proud of it. I would never have been able to make it this long without the contributions of many, many people. My customers, new and old, have made this an excellent experience. My family and friends, who nursed me through the tough times, encouraged me in the scary times, and cheered me in the bountiful times. And of course my mom and dad, both gone now, but without whose influence Sew What? Would never have been possible.  Thank you all for the crazy ride!  I’ve had a blast, and will continue to try to provide high quality goods at reasonable prices to add color and creativity to all of our lives.  Thank you!!!

I’d like to invite you all to celebrate my 20th anniversary, so please join me on Sunday January 10, 2010 from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.  I’ll have quilter’s giving demonstrations; there will be prizes and drawings, wine and cheese and more!

Quilters Gallery

Our featured Quilter of the month will of course be Ann Shaw. Ms. Shaw’s talent, creativity and patience make her an ideal quilter and teacher. Without Ann’s guidance, there would certainly be fewer quilters in the world!
When you display your quilts in our gallery it gives everyone who comes into the store, and the entire quilting community, opportunity to view your talent and see the vast array of local quilting styles, colors and techniques. While quilts are on display, photos will be taken and a CD created so you can maintain a record of your exhibition.  During the month you are displaying your quilts, you will receive a 20% discount in the store. We welcome all levels to participate in this exciting opportunity! Call the store to sign up for an upcoming month. We look forward to hearing from you!

Spring Class Schedule

To peak your interest, here are just a few of the classes we are offering  this spring. You can also view the entire spring schedule at

image009 Double Wedding Ring

Claudia Kaufmann
Wednesdays –February 3rd and 10th 2010
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Cost: $30.00


image016 Kinetic Energy

Diana Brock
Tuesday – March 9th, 2010
10:00am – 3:00 pm
Cost $30.00

image011 Bento Baggu

Janet Perc
Saturday – March 27, 2010
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Cost: $30.00

Don’t forget about the 2010 Challenge!

We’d like you to make a quilted project that reflects how Sew What? has influenced you or your craft over the years.  It could relate to the
20th Anniversary, or  Celebration, or reflect something learned or
experienced since Sew What? opened in 1990.   It could ruminate about classes, teachers, friends, events, or whatever your imagination allows.  You can purchase the Challenge fabric in the shop. More information on this on our website:

Girls Night Out!

Friday January 29, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00
Enjoy an evening out with other quilters. Order take-out or bring your own dinner.

The cost is only $8.00.

Don’t Forget!
Girls Night Out is a monthly event at sew what? & is always held on the last Friday of the month!
See you there.

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3 comments so far

1.  Carol Mallozzi
January 4th, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Congratulations!! Here’s to many more.

Mike & Carol

2.  Dolores Sullivan
January 6th, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Your Ideas and help with Fabric and colors are in many of my Quilts.My best wishes to for many more years of success.

3.  Adele Gabalski
January 7th, 2010 at 12:10 PM

I have been to your shop a few times and every experience was a pleasant one. Everyone is helpful and friendly.
Congratulations and keep up the great
atmosphere in your shop.


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