I’ve been so excited to share this post with you because it’s about one of my favorite quilting people, Barb Erickson. Barb is the owner of my local quilt shop, Quilts on Broadway, in Foley, MN. When we moved to Foley 10 years ago, one of the first things I did in my new town was check out the local quilt shop. I remember that day vividly, and I recall going home and telling my husband, “YES! There is a great little quilt shop in town and the owner was so nice!” Any of you who have moved will know what I mean. Finding a quilt shop in a new town ranks right up there with finding the new doctor, dentist and grocery store!
My relationship with Barb has grown over the years and I feel so fortunate to call her my quilting friend. She is knowledgeable, talented, experienced and professional. Barb’s primary focus is on her customers, to the degree that I wonder if she ever finds the time to sew for fun!
A Foley Native
Barb is a native of Foley and is a respiratory therapist by trade. She graduated in 1993 from Northwest Technical College and worked in hospitals and home care settings for several years. Barb and her husband Fred have two sons, Ben and Jeff, and two spoiled cats, Wilma and Pebbles. After several rewarding years in the healthcare field, Barb decided that it was time to change gears professionally.
Sewing at an early age
Barb has been sewing since she was a child and was taught by her mom, Thelma. She made her first quilt when she was 11 years old. It was a 4-H project that won a purple ribbon at the county fair. Barb describes it as “a simple queen sized quilt made of 3” squares. They were not all cotton and the seams didn’t match.” But it really is a treasure! It was so much fun to look at this fabulous quilt with Barb. (We both felt a major 1970s vibe hitting us!) The young Barb used scraps of every kind to make this quilt, including corduroy and even drapery fabric.
The first garment Barb sewed was a wrap dress, the kind with three armholes which some of you may recall making. By fourth grade she was able to sew in collars and cuffs, sleeves and buttonholes. With that wealth of experience and her love of sewing, it is no wonder she pursued the dream of owning her own quilt shop and opened Quilts on Broadway in Foley in January of 2006. I met Barb in July of that year.
Quilts on Broadway: Open for Business
|Those precuts Barb worried would never sell|
have become a nice part of her sales.
The quilt shop I walked into 10 years ago was Barb’s first location for Quilts on Broadway. That shop was a whopping 750 square feet and Barb thinks she had maybe 250 bolts of fabric. Moda and RJR were her primary fabric distributors at the time, but she did a lot of research and listened to her customers and her offerings grew over the years. She recalls that when charm packs first came out, she thought they were priced too high and customers would never buy them. ;)
Making a move to double square footage
In 2010 Barb moved a few blocks south to a larger location in downtown Foley, doubling her square footage. In the spring of that year she added a Gammill longarm so that she could offer longarm quilting services. That business grew substantially over the years. I asked Barb to do a count of how many quilts (large and small) she has done for me since 2010, but I’m thinking it’s better if I don’t know the answer to that . . . especially if my husband reads this post!
Today's home of Quilts on Broadway
As the longarm quilting business grew, Barb once again found herself without enough space. So in January of this year, she moved two blocks west to a much larger historic building on Dewey Street in downtown Foley. Over the decades, this brick building had been home to several types of businesses, including a livery, a garage, a doctor’s office, a mercantile and a car dealership. After much hard work and extensive renovations in January and February, Quilts on Broadway reopened in a space that now boasts a large classroom, new rest rooms, a sitting room, and an office area . . . all in addition to the fabric shop area and the longarm room. Barb’s son Jeff did a lion's share of the physical work, but her helpful husband Fred, parents Thelma and Don, and several good friends pitched in with the renovations and the inventory move, which included over 1,200 bolts of fabric and hundreds of books, patterns, notions and so much more!
|A lovely place for your "driver" to wait while you shop!|
The new building has allowed her to schedule several new class offerings, an open sew time, a Saturday morning social hour and a block of the month club. She also has a group of people doing a quilt along using Jen Kingwell’s “My Small World” pattern.
|The classroom is set up to run several sewing machines and irons simultaneously, |
and includes a counter bar for coffee and snacks.
Quilts on Broadway is a brick and mortar shop, with no online sales at the moment. If you are in central Minnesota, I hope you will visit Barb’s shop. You will be so glad you did! And if your husband is tagging along, he can hang out in the sitting area and watch TV! Barb will be updating her website soon, but the building renovations, move-in, and opening for her customers had to take priority. I hope you enjoy the photos of her new space posted here today.
Barb has been so generous with me over the years, sharing her ideas and knowledge of the quilting industry. Last summer I shared one of my favorite quilting experiences, in which Barb played a large part . . . My 8-month Aloha Girl Journey. I received a very nice Christmas gift certificate to Quilts on Broadway from my husband so that I could purchase a WHOLE LOT of Aloha Girl fabric (Fig Tree & Company). Barb even let me sit in on her meeting with her Moda Rep just so I could see this beautiful fabric in person before it was released ~ what a thrill!
After making several Aloha Girl projects, I have finally used the last bit of that fabric and made a quilt for myself, which of course Barb quilted. I love everything about this quilt, mostly because it was built on so many lovely moments!
To close, Barb and I would like to share some loveliness with you as well. We are offering a give-away of an Aloha Girl charm pack and two mini charms. All you need to do is leave a comment below and you'll be entered. (Please include your email address.) Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Monday, April 11. At that time, I will do a random drawing and announce the winner. *Only one comment per person/per email address. Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf. (email@example.com)
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. Hats off to all our local quilt shop owners who provide such a rich boost to our lives and communities!