Three years after closing in downtown Vashon, Island Quilter will open again next month in the former Windermere building.
Owner Anja Moritz shared the news last week, saying that in the intervening years, she and her partner Paul Robinson have done business online, in pop-up shops and at quilt shows, but will once again have a retail store in the heart of town. Several factors contributed to this reopening, she said: They still have a lot of fabric; several quilt shops in the area have gone out of business, creating more of a need for a new shop, and countless people have asked when they would open again.
“Economy wise, I do not know if it’s a smart thing,” she said. “It is not a business where you ever get rich. That is just a fact. It is more a labor of love.”
The critical factor in opening again, Moritz said, was finding the right space. She had looked at other buildings, including the former Essentials 4 building, which Treasure Island has just moved into, and the former Frame of Mind space. Neither option suited their needs well enough — and then Moritz and Robinson learned about the former Windermere building, and the pieces quickly fell into place.
“I always thought it looked very inviting,” Moritz said. “It looks beautiful from the outside, and there is something homey and very inviting about it.”
Moritz also credited building owner Charlie Helsby with being good to work with in the rental process, even buying flooring and telling her she could share the news before the lease was signed.
This shop will be smaller than Moritz’ former store, where Voice of Vashon is now. There, they used about 2,200 square feet for their retail area and now will have about 1,500 square feet. They will not be able to offer classes or exhibits or stock as may notions as they did previously. And they will offer about 30 percent less fabric — but still provide an ample selection.
“We had 9,000 bolts. If you reduce that by a third, it is still respectable,” Moritz said.
Soon activity will be visible at the shop, as Moritz said she and Robinson plan to begin moving in at the beginning of August. She expects to hold a big sale, possibly outside, before setting everything up in the store.
Robinson frequently worked in the old shop; that will be true again this time around. Moritz said she will keep her job at Thriftway, saying managers are good to her there, and will work at her own shop in her off hours.
At her job at Thriftway, as many as five times a day, people ask her when she is going to open again, she said. Often, the conversations were tinged with sadness — but no more.
“Now it feels like we are moving on,” she said. “That is the nice part about it.”