Supporting local and independent business is massively important to me, not only because I work as an independent designer myself, but also because it’s what I grew up with.
(I love the needle rack from Friedlander’s that now holds my thread)
My grandfather immigrated to the US from Lithuania and opened his first store in Lake Wales, Florida sometime in the 1920s. He sold all kinds of stuff: clothes, fabric, housewares, toys. By the time I was born, my grandfather had already passed away and my dad and aunts were carrying the torch. Many of my earliest memories are of spending time in the store wrapping presents, pricing stuff, or helping people find what they were looking for.
(another relic from the Friedlander archive that I use often and even at the last show)
In a lot of ways, it was a totally different way of doing business back then. Shelves were stocked with actual needs and quality products, merchants had an active relationship with their customer, and solid customer service came naturally and without anyone having to tell you to do it.
While my family’s stores no longer exist, I LOVE that I can still find the same values and practices that I grew up with in the local quilt shops that I frequent. I love how each shop emits its own flavor–a product of the many hands and hearts that create and nurture them. They build community and offer us the chance to connect with each other over the things that mean so much to us. Plus, I love not knowing what fun thing I’ll find from one quilt shop to the next!
And they just sell better stuff, which is a total testament to the industry itself and how much it supports the little guys.
Visit Your Local Shop Day is on January 24, 2013 and right around the corner. I’m very happy to support it, and I’m also gonna do a giveaway in its honor. (See below for details.)
Here’s my official promo for the campaign, the short and sweet version.
And then I’ll give a shout-out to some of my favorite local shops and their nearby complements–I know I like some nourishment after a little fabric shopping. They’ve all supported me, and I’m very happy to support them.
Heartfelt Quilting and Sewing . Winter Haven, Florida
This shop is filled with the sweetest staff ever, and they have totally nurtured me from having no skills at all, to the fully obsessed quilter that I am today. Make sure to check out my open house on March 5 at their Lakeland store.
… Andy’s Igloo. The sign says “best ice cream for 62 years.” Let’s just say they know what they are doing.
Fabric Warehouse . Lakeland, Florida
Another great shop with lots of fun fabrics, and I think they might have been the first shop to pick up my patterns! In March, I’m teaching a class through them at the Sewing Expo for my Aerial quilt.
…Pelican’s shaved ice in Auburndale. Perfectly positioned on my route home.
Inspire Quilting and Sewing . Plant City, Florida
These guys are super new, but have already established themselves as one of my favorite quilt shops. The light-filled shop is full of great samples and beautiful fabrics. Located in an unfamiliar town to me, I’m excited to get to know it more in the future.
…There’s a candy shop and tea room across the street, and then a fabulously home-grown and rustic cafe around the corner. um, hello.
The Dragonfly Quilt Shop . Vero Beach, Florida
This shop is about and hour and a half away, but I love getting over there when I’ve got the chance. It’s just a few miles from the beach and full of that warm, beachy vibe.
…Snowballs. the BEST shaved ice. Just down the street. You’re welcome.
(Sometimes I’m not sure which is more robust–my sweet tooth or my “fabric” tooth…)
Of course there are tons of other great shops out there, these are just some of my nearest and dearest. For more ideas in your area, peruse my shop listings, and also fill me in on some of your favorites by leaving a comment.
All comments made by Thursday Jan 24 at 11am (EST) are eligible for the giveaway. You’ll have to stay tuned for the prize…it’s a surprise! But it’s good. Don’t worry.
And check out these other folks on the Local Quilt Shop Day tour!
– Abby Glassenberg (While She Naps)
– Alissa Haight Carlton (Handmade By Alissa)
– Allison Harris (Cluck Cluck Sew)
– Cara Wilson (Cara Quilts)
– Cheryl Arkison (Dining Room Empire)
– Christina Lane (The Sometimes Crafter)
– Debbie Grifka (Esch House Quilts)
– Diane Gilleland (CraftyPod)
– Pam Harris (Gingerbread Snowflakes)
– Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane)
– Jen Carlton-Bailly (Betty Crocker Ass)
– Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint)
– Laurie Wisbrun (Scarlet Fig)
– Michelle Freedman (Design Camp)
– Monica Solorio-Snow (Happy Zombie)
– Pat Sloan (Create with Pat Sloan)
– Penny Layman (Sew Take A Hike)
– Rachael Gander (Imagine Gnats)
– Rae Hoekstra (Made By Rae)
– Rita Hodge (Red Pepper Quilts)
– Victoria Gertenbach (The Silly BooDilly)