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Meet Sunshine Stitches

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

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”.

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Meet HomeGrown HomeSewn

Store name: HomeGrown HomeSewn
Owners: Tom & Diane Schultz / Caleb & Abbey Matthews
Store location: 5761 Springdale Rd. Suite L, Cincinnati, OH 45247

HomeGrown HomeSewn is located in a small strip mall. Business at HomeGrown HomeSewn in Cincinnati, Ohio is truly a family affair. Everyone’s involved in running the store!
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Meet Hip Stitch

Store name: Hip Stitch

Owners: Suzanne Kelly and Steve Hamlin. (It was started in 2008 by Suzanne and two friends—three PTA moms who wanted to create a place where people could learn to sew.)

Store location: 2320 Wisconsin NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110; Hip Stitch was originally located in a strip mall in the suburbs of north east Albuquerque. In February 2017, we more than doubled our sales floor and class space when we relocated to our own building, which is architecturally styled like territorial buildings often seen in Northern New Mexico.
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Meet Quilter’s Cupboard

Store name: Quilter’s Cupboard

Owner: Cindy Peters  

Store Location: 706 SW 3rd Ankeny, Iowa (We are located in a old house in Uptown Ankeny.)
Phone: 515-963-8758
Region of the country: Midwest: Northern Central
Years in business: 10
Number of employees: 7

Types of special services offered: Quilting fabrics, patterns, and notion, Babylock sewing machines, as well as classes and clubs.
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Meet Back Door Quilts

Store name: The Back Door, Inc, DBA Back Door Quilts

Linda (left) and Teri in the front of the shop

Owners: Linda Hale and Teri Dougherty
Store location: 2503 Fairview Rd, Greenwood, IN 46142
Phone: (317) 882-2120

Greenwood is a suburb of Indianapolis, and we are located in a strip mall

Region of the country: North East Central. Midwest
Years in business:  46 in May 2019
Types of special services offered: Longarm Quilting, plus the usual quilt shop expertise on all things creative!

Number of employees:  19 including the two owners, mostly part time, plus Club Hostesses and teachers
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Meet Apron Strings Quilt Shop

Apron Strings Quilt Shop
Located in historic downtown Maysville, Kentucky, Apron Strings Quilt Shop is a 2017 Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler Featured Shop. In 2013, Apron Strings relocated their shop to Maysville, a traditional small town “river town” with a charming historic downtown area.
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Sew Simple of Lynchburg LLC

American Quilt Retailer is pleased to feature Sew Simple of Lynchburg in today’s Open for Business blog post.

Shop: Sew Simple of Lynchburg LLC
Address: 2414 Wards Rd. Lynchburg VA 24502
Phone: (434) 239-6708
Owners:  Amy K Johnson and Eric Johnson
Services: Janome sewing machine sales and service, classes, plus fabric and supplies.
Years in business: 2.5 years as a brick and mortar store, 1.5 years as an online shop before that to support my online classes with rulers, ruler feet, and tools
Number of employees: One part time
Store location:
Sew Simple of Lynchburg is located in Lynchburg, Virginia.  It is in a stand-alone building in a smaller city, in the Mid-Atlantic region.
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