Store name: Sunshine Stitches Inc
Owner: Shelley Johnson
Store Location: 1490 North State Street, Belvidere, IL 61008
Phone: (815) 323-5022
Region of the Country: Midwest Central — located in Northern Illinois near Rockford, Illinois – close to the Wisconsin border
Website : www.sunshinestitchesinc.com
Years in business: 3 years
Types of special services offered: Retail fabric and quilting supplies, classes, sew-ins, longarm quilting services, custom/memory quilts
Number of employees: 1 full-time and 3 part-time employees
What are the store successes you’re most proud of?
Increasing groups/programs each year, seeing our Saturday Sampler program more than doubling its size, becoming a Quilts of Valor certified shop, adding the store as a Project Linus Drop off location.
What has been the most surprising part of owning a store?
Most surprising is the business advice given to me by my customers.
Do you teach your own classes or hire teachers?
Classes are taught by me and employees. We also make all the store samples. Samples are then sold to customers and general public. When students attend our Sunshine Tote Bag class, they use it to receive 20% off their purchases on the first Friday and Saturday of each month.
Besides classes, what other store events do you hold?
Other events besides classes include sew-ins, lock-ins, clubs, BOMs and Saturday Sampler.
Are your in-store and online sales equal or does one outweigh the other?
Instore sales outweigh online sales – although we are working to change that. We manage both by having one
POS system that tracks sales and inventory.
Where do you do the work of the business?
Paperwork and planning are done early in the morning before the store is open. Often it’s done on my kitchen table on Sunday evenings.
Do you have a hobby that isn’t sewing related?
My hobbies outside of quilting are painting and skydiving!
What would your signature quilt include?
My signature quilt would be a t-shirt quilt using bright and bold colors. This has become a favorite part of my business in that I make custom t-shirt/memory quilts for others. These quilts are a favorite to make because they are very meaningful, and I love to see the reaction of my customers when finished.
How do you get out the word about your store?
Advertising for our shop is done in a variety of ways including local publications, local quilt guild newsletters, Quilt Shop Navigator and Quilter’s Travel Companion and Facebook/Instagram. Word of mouth from my customers is the best form of advertising overall.
What does a customer see first when they come into your store?
The first thing customers see when then walk in the front door is a smiling face waiting to help them while standing in front of the current Saturday Sampler Quilt. All followed by bright and vibrant fabric options to choose from.
You’ll always find _________ in my sewing stash.
You will always find bright, fun colors in my stash.
What is your personal motto or mantra?
My mantra – “Jump in with both feet” and “You will never know if you do not try”.