KENSINGTON, P.E.I. - When customers step through the entrance of Sew Blessed Quilters in Kensington they are in for a surprise.
A kaleidoscope of colour-coordinated fabrics drape from the ceiling to the floor while a tiny Chug (a cross between a Chihuahua and Pug) called Bria pops its friendly head around the corner.
“It’s magical,” said Colleen Singer, who often comes just to soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
“I used to shop at Bargain Fabric Outlet in North Bedeque, but when they closed I was a little devastated because I purchased a fair bit of fabric there,” she said. “Then I heard of Faith (LeClair) and her business and we became close-knit friends and we are so blessed to have her.”
Faith LeClair, who was one of the five employees made redundant from Bargain Fabric on Oct. 8, 2016, decided to take a leap of faith and set up her own fabric store from the comfort of her home.
“I worked at Bargain Fabric for eight years and it was devastating to learn the news that they were closing,” she said while recalling the stress and anxiety of searching for new employment at the age of 57.
Three years on and Sew Blessed Quilters at 18 Andrews Dr. is busting out the seams with success.
“I never thought the business would grow like this since we opened in January 2017, and I’ve never had a day where I haven’t had anything to do in the store,” said LeClair, who added that the store’s name is the result of her feeling blessed to be able to sew and work from home.
LeClair said her inventory has tripled since opening.
“It’s grown from the garage and into the sewing room,” she said. “I do the odd custom jobs, but most are customers just coming through the door. I had a lot of tourists last summer saying they had been across Canada and they liked my store the most. One lady stood for minutes mesmerized in the hallway scanning the colours and options of fabric.”
“We have classes in the basement on Tuesday and Wednesday night (6 to 9 p.m.). We started doing these classes in my sewing room until we had six people join and we lacked space. We now have 16 and 20 people taking the classes,” said LeClair.
LeClair has also expanded her sewing classes at the Kensington Senior Centre on Garden Drive.
“Quilting is a very relaxing pastime. A lot of my students have been sick or are trying to find a way to zone out and we help each other.”
Singer said the class is like a support group and attending the sewing meetings are like therapy.
“And it a pleasure to sew and also help out at the store when Faith needs time away. I don’t count it as work but something that makes me happy.”
For more information or to sign up to a class visit Sew Blessed Quilters Facebook page.