Stitching together a new future
Peterborough: Stoddard woman opens sewing business
Stoddard woman opens a sewing business in Peterborough Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
PETERBOROUGH — Karen Grovenstein was one of about 110 people who lost a job this spring when Eastern Mountain Sports closed the distribution center at its Vose Farm Road headquarters. She’d been working for the company for many years, first in the repair department and then moving over to distribution.
“When they had the massive layoff, I didn’t know what to do,” Grovenstein said. “My husband said not to worry, but I wanted to work. Then when I heard that Jane’s in Stitches was closing, we decided to give this a try.”
Grovenstein is hoping her new business, Karen’s Stitching Post, will fill at least some of the void left after Jane and Bill Anders closed the clothing repair business they’d run for 17 years on Summer Street.
Karen’s Stitching Post is located on the ground floor of the Strand Building on Route 202 North, in a small room in the corner of Suite 100, which she shares with Dara’s Paw Spaw, a pet-grooming business.
“This is an ideal location,” Grovenstein said. “My room’s a little small, but it’s cozy. It’s got great light and easy access.”
The new business opened on Sept. 3. Working alone, Grovenstein is doing clothing and fabric repairs — mending, patching, hemming, replacing zippers, the kind of projects that many people don’t have the skills, equipment or time to tackle.
“We’re only in our third week and I have been busy,” Grovenstein said last week, as she took a break from hemming a curtain for a customer. “I don’t do alterations and I’ll tell people right off if I’m not comfortable doing what they’re looking for. I want people to be happy. I think the way to grow will be through word of mouth.”
She said her husband bought her a new heavy-duty Janome sewing machine that she’s using for much of her repair work.
“It’s a very solid machine, able to handle denim and heavy fabrics.”
Grovenstein already owned most of the other equipment she needed to furnish the shop — a smaller sewing machine, clothing racks, irons and ironing board, needles and thread. She just brought it all in from her home in Stoddard.
“I was actually thinking at first of opening in Stoddard, but it’s so remote,” she said.
Grovenstein said that’s not the case in the Strand building. In addition to getting to know other business owners, she’s enjoyed meeting and talking to her customers.
“It’s exciting seeing different people,” she said. “At EMS, I’d see that same people every day.”
Although she’s a one-woman operation, Grovenstein said she should be able to turn around jobs within a two-week window.
“Often, something can be done faster, and I’ll give someone a call if it’s ready earlier,” she said.
Karen’s Stitching Post is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or email@example.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.