Two Colchester business owners have teamed up to provide a one-stop-shop for sewing and quilting needs on Route 7.
Sunny Laurel Sisters moved from West Lakeshore Drive in October to a vacant retail location near the intersection of Main Street, Route 7 and Bay Road, doubling the size of the three-year-old sewing supply and teaching business.
At the same time, connected by a hallway next door, Stonehurst Quilting moved two 15-foot computerized quilting machines into a 1,200-square-foot space, taking a home-based business that started in 2013 into a retail location for the first time.
“Our businesses dovetail nicely together,” said Nicole Laurencelle, owner of Sunny Laurel Sisters.
Laurencelle’s business started as an online fabric store and moved into the Harbor View Plaza in Malletts Bay when Laurencelle wanted a teaching and warehousing space. About a year later, it moved into a bigger storefront in the same plaza.
Primarily through word of mouth and social media, Sunny Laurel Sisters has thrived. In addition to selling fabric and sewing supplies, the business offers private and group sewing classes.
Laurencelle recently received her master seamstress certification and is on the Vermont Quilt Festival board.
“This is way more space than what I need, but it really allows me so much room to grow,” Laurencelle said.
And although the sewing and quilting community tends to seek out fabric shops, the improved visibility is a bonus.
“I’ve met so many more people being in this location,” Laurencelle said. “I can’t believe the exposure Route 7 has given me. People see the fabric from the road. I think we will do great here.”
Laurencelle met Dave Stone and Karen Tidehurst early in her business career. The couple had launched Stonehurst Quilting in the basement of their Blakely Rd. home and stopped into Laurencelle’s shop to introduce themselves. Laurencelle would later refer to them customers who wanted to transform their creations into finished quilts.
Stonehurst had one CNC quilting machine at the time. They recently bought a second one to set up next Laurencelle in the store on Route 7. Both stores opened October 17.
Stone was a construction foreman who changed careers for health reasons. Tidehurst is an avid quilter. Stone originally learned to finish quilts as a way to turn his wife’s quilt tops into finished products.
“Eventually I got good enough at it that we thought we’d ask around and see if anyone wanted to have this process done on theirs, and it turns out people like it,” Stone said.
The business also sells thread and quilt batting. With the holidays approaching, business is ramping up.
“It keeps growing and growing,” Stone said. “I’m booked solid [through mid-November].”