Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Story So Far

In 2003 when I moved to Marietta, Georgia, from Florida, I was thrilled to find out that I was living just a couple of miles from a fabric store! Oh joy unbounded!

Unfortunately, when I stopped at the historic Marietta Mill building and knocked on the door I found out that the fabric store which had once been located there was now closed. Too bad, I thought. What a fitting place for a fabric store...a historic textile mill. Not to mention the delicious location just blocks from historic Marietta town square. Oh well, I thought, maybe this is the chance for me to open the fabric store I always dreamed of...

When I got to know the town better, I felt there was a real need for a good fabric store in the area, so I began to talk to various people about renting a small space. At one point, I even took an option on an 800 square foot space. I had visions of sewing peacefully along and stopping to chat when the occasional customer wandered in.

One day as I passed the Mill, I saw the sign..."7,000 square feet for sale or lease." Oh gosh, that cool old building has space available, but of course I could never begin to afford it. Still...

I gathered up my courage and called the sweetest realtor in Marietta, John Hunicutt, a real southern gentleman. Maybe the space could be subdivided? I asked. John arranged to show me the building...and it was love at first sight. The lower floor of the historic mill had exposed floor beams, now painted black, and it seemed to go on forever. Old pipes and giant circuit breakers and roller doors spoke of the building's past as a mill. This was the space I'd always dreamed of ...too bad I was way too poor to afford it!

I babbled on to John about my dreams of the ultimate quilt a historic mill no less. He told me about the history of the building, built in 1946 with double thick walls in case it was needed as a munitions storage area, and since used by the Bentley family to house their textile company. He agreed to plead my case with the Bentley brothers, Drew and Bullet. I think that what swayed the brothers was the fact that I love their building as much as they do. In any case, after some agonizing weeks, John was able to persuade them to make me a wonderful deal for the space. Thanks to their kindness it was, and is, a match made in heaven.

Many gallons of paint later, our grand old lady is polished up and again receiving visitors. The factory has long been relocated, although the company offices are still on the upper floor. When the store is quiet, I can hear my friends walking around on the original creaky floor boards.a sound I find very comforting. In turn, the Bentleys and the other employees of Marietta Drapery can't resist visiting occasionally to see what is new and to rejoice in the old lady's new look.

In addition to 6,000 bolts of fabric, we sell the overruns of drapes and bedspreads produced by the drapery company, at ridiculously low prices. When things are slow, I bore my customers by pointing out the unique brick ceiling, constructed with the same technology as the London underground. The occasional ghost drifts by, interested in all the changes, I suppose, or wondering at our state-of-the-art long arm quilting machine, so different from the primitive mill machines of the past.

In recent months we have added Toys, Gifts, Art, Rugs, Food, and many others. Not to mention Handi Quilter machines and Custom long arm quilting services!

We think we have a unique store -- part bargain basement, part quilt party, part gift shop. We hope you'll come visit us sometime soon. Cookie, the poodle in the picture, will be waiting to entertain the kids. But I warn you, once you're here, time slips away and it's really hard to leave! After all, who wants to be the first to leave a party?

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