On Thursday, Jan. 6, the Kalona Area Chamber of Commerce recognized Stitch ‘N Sew Cottage for succeeding in 40 years of business. While Stitch ‘N Sew is technically in its 41st year of …
On Thursday, January 6, the Kalona Area Chamber of Commerce recognized Stitch ‘N Sew Cottage for succeeding in 40 years of business. While Stitch ‘N Sew is technically in its 41st year of business, the Chamber wanted to celebrate the milestone with owner Grace Schumann, who has owned the store for 18 years.
Kalona and quilting go together, and Stitch ‘N Sew is a big part of Kalona’s quilting history.
“It’s definitely a part of our heritage and I believe a cornerstone here in Kalona for people to come to and for us to serve the community and beyond,” Schumann said. “It’s pretty amazing to think that this has been here and serving people for that long, and we’re still going strong.”
Schumann, who was awarded a Kalona Community Award at the 2021 Fall Festival, said she’s seen a lot of change in the past 18 years, and not just changes in products, styles and trends.
“I always think, ‘It’s still the same store,’ but when I started, there were no emails, no Facebook, no website.,” Schumann said. “Now, so much of the business is done online — how you order materials and receive stuff and communicate with people. Seeing all that evolve from then to now shows that there have been a lot of changes.”
Chamber Director Tonia Poole said Stitch ‘N Sew plays a vital role in the community, both for locals and people visiting from all over the state and the country.
“Stitch ‘N Sew cottage is very involved. They’re great sponsors when we have events. They also donate to different fundraisers, and I have seen the other side of Stitch ‘N Sew cottage with the travelers that come in,” Poole said. “They’ve got people that come from across the United States that when they travel yearly, they’ve made it an intention to stop by. When they come to Stitch ‘N Sew on that pit stop, you know they’re also going to get something to eat and go to other businesses. Stitch ‘N Sew draws people to Kalona from all over the United States.”
And Stitch ‘N Sew is unique because of the community in Kalona.
“Antique shops are great and they’re valuable for bringing history in and drawing people in, but there’s something that’s unique about quilts and the age that comes with them — they’re rooted in this community, with the Amish and the Mennonite populations here,” Poole said.
While Stitch ‘N Sew is an excellent one-stop shop for all kinds of quilting supplies, Schumann said her favorite part of the business is creating tangible memories for customers.
“We do a lot of service work for people. People bring their quilts or their fabric or their t-shirts and we create memories for people. That’s what makes the business,” Schumann said.
“People might know that you can buy fabric and supplies at Stitch ‘N Sew, but they also repair heirlooms,” Poole said. “People find things in their grandmother’s attic and Stitch ‘N Sew can help bring them back to life.”
Schumann said creating these quilts is what she treasures most about Stitch ‘N Sew.
“Most favorite part is creating a quilt for somebody and they come in to pick it up and they’re in tears because of the sentimental value to do it,” Schumann said. “Or you do something for someone who has lost a loved one and they’re very touched — to see those moments is always the highlight for me.”
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