Crafting a community
Monday, Jan. 6
Much like the process of sewing together different pieces of fabric to make a quilt, Kelly Ann's Quilting in Warrenton brings individuals together to make up a crafting community.
As a tight-knit community, the shop and its customers work together frequently on charity projects.
“For me personally, it’s important that we do charity work here,” said store owner Kelly Ann Richardson. “The community gives to me as far as customers coming in, so it’s important to give back to the community and this is how we do it.”
The store holds “sew-ins,” where quilters come to work on projects that are donated to various charitable causes. One program that the shop facilitates is called Quilts of Honor. Customers craft quilts that are presented to veterans that have served two or more tours in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan conflicts.
Richardson began her quilting business in the summer of 2005. As a quilter, Richardson said she saw a need for a local quilting shop in Warrenton. Over the years there were a handful of other quilting shops that went out of business for various reasons, leaving Joanne Fabrics as the only fabric store in the area.
Richardson wanted to provide additional fabrics and quilting supplies to the community.
“I felt like there was a need in the area (for a quilting shop,) Richardson said. “As a quilter, I didn’t want to have to drive all the way to Fairfax to go to a quilt shop. “I looked at it from the business standpoint of, what does the town need?”
The store carries quilt fabrics, patterns, thread, cutting implements and many other items for both experienced and novice quilters. There are also numerous classes that are available for customers to take at the shop.
Since Kelly Ann's Quilting opened, it has experienced a steady growth. According to Richardson, even through the economic downturn in 2007, the store sustained growth, although at a slower pace. She said that since 2012, her business at her store has started to increase at a substantially faster pace.
Richardson said she attributes the store’s success to a relationship to the crafting community that she has honed. Kelly Ann's Quilting hosts quarterly events such as ice cream socials in the summer, seminars on new tools, book signings, and showcases from local designers.
“When you open up a quilt shop, you're opening a community. People know each other,” she said. “Two of my favorite customers were in today, they’re a husband and wife team and they were some of my first customers in the door in 2005. It’s like a second home for them. They come in and we know about them, their grandchildren, their dogs and their cats. It’s a community, and that’s why we do it.”
Lynne Daconta, a team member at Kelly Ann's Quilting, said that she started out as a customer and began working at the shop because she enjoyed the community atmosphere so much.
“We are here to serve the customers. We have people come in sometimes that say they are here just for motivation. Or they come in with questions that they need answered. We support them a lot,” Daconta said.
Ashley Bennett said she has been a customer for about three years and stops by the store on a regular basis.
“I come here for the friendliness and the variety of fabric and crafts. It’s very welcoming. We’re all a little community,” said Bennett. “I work across the street, so it’s very close knit. I enjoy this rather than not having any personal interaction.”
Kelly Ann quilters have also made dog and cat beds that were donated to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA.) The store participates in the “Two Million Pillow Case Challenge,” a competition amongst quilters world wide to make and donate pillows that go to hospitals, hospices, cancer wards and shelters.
Each team member at Kelly Ann's Quilting works together with the same goal to build a community, while maintaining their own individual quilting styles.
Daconta explained that each team member and teacher at the store has their own following of customers that look to them for advice and creative guidance.
“We all have a liking and a taste that’s our strong suit,” she said. “I love bright colors and festive and happy themes. Some people like the reproductions or the Civil War themes, which have more muted colors.”
Kelly Ann's Quilting is a unique place that brings together people of all walks of life and personal styles to craft high quality projects.
Kelly Ann's Quilting is located at 9 South Fifth St. in Warrenton. For more information, go to: kellyannsquilting.cokellyannsquilting.comm or call (540) 341-8890.
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