'We want to be the friendly little corner shop'

Quilt shop under new ownership

REED CITY — As the new owners of the Crossroads Quilt Shop, couple Barb and Lonnie Graham are excited to share the new look and feel of the business that provides a local place for crafters.

"It was an opportunity, and I couldn't see another store in Reed City go," said Barb, who grew up sewing. "It was meant to be, and it's a labor of love."

The business changed hands during the second week of January and the real work began.

"We immediately closed it, because we wanted to improve the store," Barb said. "We wanted to better organize and do some cleaning. We wanted a flow where you can go from one rack to another with ease."

In a short amount of time, the pair maximized the space, organized and recatagorized shelving and products, removed excess clutter and cleaned the entire shop. Now finished, the business looks bright, inviting and is set up in a way for customers to find what they need easily and quickly.

Currently, the business carries a large selection of cotton quilting fabric in a variety of colors and patterns, interfacing, batting, thread, patterns, books, Plexiglas templates, sewing machine needles, cross stitch supplies and more. Soon, the Grahams will add items for knitting and crocheting enthusiasts and those for the everyday sewer.

One of Barb's goals is to offer sewing, felting and quilting classes at the shop, taught by herself and other local experts.

"We want to make sure everybody knows that a novice sewer can come in here and get the help they need," Barb added. "You can truly be a beginner and know nothing, but learn."

Another feature the store has to offer is laser cutting, which can be used on everything from fabric for custom shapes, appliques and squares, to engraving on tile, stone and wood. A large laser cutter inside the business is what Lonnie uses to create the design for the customer.

"There's nothing I'm afraid to try," he said. "I even used the machine to carve a pumpkin once."

The Grahams have a unique, community-oriented view of their business. When patrons arrive in the store, they may be alarmed to see a timid dog watching warily from the sidelines. Ember, a boxer, is a therapy dog who belonged to the Grahams, and will quickly warm to those who show her affection. For years, Lonnie and Barb have been associated with the Riley MacKenzie Fund, a nonprofit organization based out of Paris that assists stray and abandoned animals. The pair help support the fund through the shop, and also welcome well-behaved, leashed dogs into the store.

In addition, the Grahams believe it is important to be a local business that supports others. Crossroads Quilt Shop has working relationships with Creative Loop in Paris and well as Wood By Delines in Hersey Township.

"We want to be good stewards and good community people," Barb said. "With other businesses, it's not a competition, it's a collaborative."

As the store expands its products, she hopes she can provide patrons a local, welcoming place to purchase their quilting and sewing supplies as well as a resource for those who may need assistance.

"I encourage people to bring their projects into the store and ask for advice or just to work on them," Barb added. "We want to be the friendly little corner shop."

For more information about the Crossroads Quilt Shop, find it on Facebook.