Glenwood Sewing Center keeps its customers in stitches
April 20, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Glenwood Sewing Center has been around the block, so to speak. In business for more than 30 years, it has been in its current location in downtown Glenwood Springs since 1994.
Eighteen years ago Sandy Boyd and the Glenwood Sewing Center began offering classes to expand customers’ sewing expertise. Those early classes and the continuation of ever-evolving classes make for a truly loyal clientele any business owner would envy.
Now, 75 or so eager quilters gather at Glenwood Sewing Center before the shop officially opens the first Saturday morning of each month. They are working on a special project ” their Saturday Samplers, and their creative juices are at a feverish level.
The first month of the Saturday Sampler program, quilters purchase basic fabric and an initial block kit. The quilters learn how to make one specific block, and with the block completed, come back the first Saturday morning of the next month, and get that month’s block free. The same procedure is repeated seven more months. Each block teaches an interesting technique.
The idea started seven years ago after hearing about a similar program being presented in other quilt shops. Boyd and Kathleen Molitor, an employee who has taught classes for more than 15 years, tweak the program to suit the shop’s clientele.
At least 65 quilters finish their Saturday Samplers. They get to know each other, bring recently finished projects for “show and tell,” and get inspired by their new friends.
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Many participants come back year after year. One couple drives up from Grand Junction every month to participate in the Saturday Sampler program. On a recent nasty, snowy Saturday, a few quilters were brought to Glenwood by the DeBeque town bus.
“I think people like the free aspect of the program, but I also think it’s the camaraderie, the instruction, and the inspiration which bring them back again and again,” said Boyd.
“For us as a business, the program gives us an opportunity to present new products and ideas, and teach people how to use products we have,” she continued. “It has been a good way for newbies to get into quilting, and then they become loyal customers. Besides that, it’s really fun and although it’s quite a bit of work, we look forward to the first Saturdays of the month.”
Because the program has outgrown its basement classroom, some of the fabric tables are moved aside and chairs are set up to accommodate all the quilters on the main floor of the store.
“Occasionally an innocent normal customer comes in, sees the mob, recoils in horror, and leaves ” hopefully to return later!” said Boyd. There is a good sense of humor in the quilting circle.
“We are rebels of the quilt shops,” she said. “Our clientele is much more adventurous and less tied to traditional quilting than most shops, so we have a wider range of potential projects.”
Participants also learn about new classes to expand their level of quilting expertise, and give back input about different techniques and classes they would like to take. The creative ladies discuss their projects and ideas and go home with more ideas and more projects ” and more wonderful fabric.
After the Saturday Sampler time, each quilter has the option to participate in the “North American Mystery Series,” in which quilters know what colors they will be using, but don’t know what the finished quilt will look like. They also sample food that specifically relates to the block they are learning about in the mystery series.
Boyd explained since many of the quilters travel a good distance to come to the Saturday Sampler event, she offers another learning session so participants receive twice as much for the time they spend on the road. And then hopefully those excited quilters will stay in the area, go to lunch and maybe do some more local shopping.
Good for business, good for Glenwood Springs.
For more information about the Glenwood Sewing Center, call 945-5900.