Let us Introduce You to This Week’s Open for Business Featured Shop
Shop: M&E Quilt Shoppe
Address: 279 E. Market Street, Sandusky, OH 44870
Owners: Debbie Neill & Jackie Sennish aka Mabel & Ethel
Special Service: You’ll leave our shop with a smile on your face laughing!
Located in a historical 1884 stand alone building in our downtown. Established in February 2014
AQR: What does a customer see first when they come into your store? How often does that change?
M&E: When you first enter M&E you are greeted with the newest fabric collection that has come into the shop. This changes 1-2 times a month based on the number of bolts received. Our store is small and open so you really do see everything upon entering the front door. Our displays pieces are unique (the majority having been found on the side of the road) so a customer really has to stroll around the shop several times to see everything we have to offer. Since we are so small we cannot really move display pieces but we do move fabrics around quite often as well as change out the quilts on the walls as samples are made. It always surprises us when we move fabric we have had a while and customers all of a sudden think it is new to the shop.
AQR: What were your fears when you first began? How did you resolve them?
M&E: We did our homework before opening our shop so we can’t really say we had too many fears other than just getting over the fact of how much collections of fabric actually cost. We were a good partnership since Mabel had previous retail experience (35 years) and Ethel had previous marketing experience (25 years) and both of us had a good understanding of what it would take to run a successful business.
AQR: Which jobs do you expect employees to do? Which do you do yourself?
M&E: It would be nice to have more employees, but it is currently not necessary because we operate so good together. Mabel is in charge of cutting of all the kits and blocks of month. Ethel is in charge of all the accounting and marketing/promotions. Mabel usually goes to the sales floor first for customers but both of us are out there when it is really busy. Basically we do it all!
AQR: How do you juggle family, business, and still find time for yourself?
M&E: Since opening the shop both of our houses are basically dusty all the time but we do still tend to find a good balance. Mabel likes to come in early and get things started and is still able to pick up her grandchildren from school in the afternoon. Ethel gets things done at home in the morning and stays late at the shop to catch up when needed. Family comes first so we are only open 5 days a week, closed Sundays and Mondays. We do have a couple of friends that can come into the shop and help out if we need time away for personal reasons.
AQR: What are your biggest frustrations and joys as a shop owner?
M&E: We love what we do and say we will stop doing it when it isn’t fun anymore. The only frustration we feel with the business is there isn’t enough hours in the day to do everything that we want to do. And since there is only two of us we have so many ideas we would like to implement, but have to consider time and cost. Our shop is small and it was frustrating wanting to have larger classes, but we were blessed to partner with a church that is just kitty corner from us and use their gathering space/kitchen when we want to have classes or teachers come in. Very convenient for us and our customers.