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Local Shop Has Quilt Customers Covered

Photographer / Lana King

For more than 25 years, visitors to Middlebury’s Das Dutchman Essenhaus campus have enjoyed viewing beautiful quilts and gifts, as well as quilting supplies available at The Quilt Shop. The shop is celebrating its one-year anniversary of residing in the complex’s white barn. The move to the building not only doubled the space available, but also allows owner Susan Garberick the opportunity build relationships with local quilters by offering clubs and classes.

“My interest in quilting started in the ‘70s when I was newly married,” she says. “My husband’s grandma gave me a double wedding ring quilt as a wedding present. In 1976, there was a resurgence in quilting due to the Bicentennial. I started out sewing a Lone Star baby quilt by hand when I was expecting. I had the opportunity to open a little 400-square-foot shop at Southgate Crossing. I had it for five months when I heard that The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus was for sale. I became the new owner on January 1, 2017, and it has been fantastic.”

When visitors enter the first floor of The Quilt Shop, they not only see around 100 quilts for sale, but also other handcrafted items. The handmade quilts are priced from $1,000 to $2,000 and typically represent an entire year’s work for an Amish woman.

Clothes suitable for American Girl dolls are available, including Amish doll clothing and head coverings. In addition, there is a multitude of wall hangings, table runners, quilt kits, patterns and lots of colorful fabric.

“An Amish man supplies us with wooden items such as candy dispensers and trivets,” Garberick says. “He made a wooden quilt out of different colored woods that was sold the day he brought it in. We also sell painted barn quilts, and accept commission orders if customers would like a different size than a quilt that is in the shop. We just finished two custom quilts for two graduates.”

The upstairs level is the do-it-yourself floor. It has everything a quilter might need to sew their own quilt, such as notions and batting.

There is a large selection of Quilt Magic products, which were developed at The Quilt Shop by a former owner. Garberick is a sales representative for Handi Quilter, a producer of long-arm sewing machines. The shop also offers sewing machine service and repair.

Local quilters appreciate the opportunities for fellowship that The Quilt Shop provides.  Quilters can participate in Thursday “Sit and Sew” events by calling ahead to reserve a table. The event provides an opportunity get questions answered while sewing with others. The Block of the Month Club meets on the second Thursday of each month.

“Last year was our biggest year ever,” Garberick says. “When I bought the shop, I came in with the mindset that in the first year I would learn about the business. It is a destination shop that attracts tourists, but I wanted to build a relationship with the local customers too. It’s a nice experience to come to Das Dutchman Essenhaus.”

The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus is located at 240 US Highway 20 in Middlebury. Call 800-455-9471 and visit essenhausquiltshop.com for more info.

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