The woman behind the storefront…Terry Skrabanek.
Terry Skrabanek is the owner and founder of Lone Star Quiltworks, THE quilt shop in the Brazos Valley, Texas, the home to Texas A&M University. On April 19th, Lone Star Quiltworks will be celebrating its16th anniversary!
Terry’s vision for the shop is that it will meet all the needs of the growing community of quilters, not just locally but, with her increasingly impressive online store front, quilters from around the world. Her shop stocks over 7000 bolts of fabric, as well as a large selection of notions, books, kits, and patterns. Also, to serve the large and fiercely loyal Texas A&M alumni and fan base, she offers a large selection of “Aggie-themed” fabrics, patterns, and kits.
Lone Star Quiltworks is a certified Kimberbell shop and a certified Wonderfil Boutique shop. It is also an authorized retailer of Baby Lock and Pfaff sewing and embroidery machines, and Handi Quilter quilting machines. Finally, Lone Star Quiltworks is a certified dealer of Koala and Tailormade cabinets. WOW, that is a mouthful!
I recently had a chance to chat with Terry to find out what it is like to be a successful quilt shop owner.
Q: Tell me a bit about yourself, your family, your hobbies, your creative background.
A: I have been sewing since I was ten years old. Along the way, I have sewn my own clothes, cross-stitched, done English smocking, macrame, beading, knitting, etc. You name it: if it is a craft, I have tried it! I dove into quilting when my two boys informed me; they would no longer wear smocked outfits. I was a critical care nurse in my former existence and had a long-arm business on the side. In 2005 the opportunity presented itself for me to open a quilt shop and become my own boss. Over sixteen years later, we are still going strong! I enjoy working with our customers and cherish my employees.
Q: What made you want to open a quilt shop?
A: The challenge of running a successful business along with being my own boss and managing employees who can work well together.
Q: What do you love most about owning a quilt shop?
A: Connecting our amazing customers with the perfect fabric for their perfect project!
Q: What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of owning a quilt shop?
A: Finding qualified employees, who share my passion for all things quilting! Thankfully, I have always been able to do so.
Q: How do you determine what fabrics, notions, patterns you bring into the shop?
A: I follow online trends, listen to my fabric vendors, watch social media, and read the trade journals religiously.
Q: Describe a typical day.
A: Um, not sure what to say about this one. I run from the minute my feet hit the floor until my butt hits the bed!
Q: What advice would you give someone who is hoping to open their own quilt store in the future?
A: Make sure you are not dependent upon the shop as your source of income for at least five years, be prepared to work at a minimum of 60 hours per week, and I would not recommend this for anybody with young children.
Q: What do you know now that you wish you learned in the beginning?
A: That you may NEVER receive fabric you order.
Q: How has the industry changed since you first opened the shop?
A: Much stronger online presence since 2005.
Q: What is your favorite sewing tool/notion?
Q: What is your favorite quilt block?
A: I really love Card Trick. You can do so many things with this block, with prints, solids, batiks, etc.
Q: What is your favorite color?
A: My inspiration was the lack of maroon colors in the fabric lines our vendors were showing me. The designs just come out of my head. I have been lucky to find qualified fabric companies who have worked directly with me to print our custom shop fabrics.
Q: During the pandemic, at the end of every Facebook Live, you encourage watchers to support local businesses and restaurants that are being affected by COVID-19. Does Lone Star Quiltworks do any kind of charitable work for the community?
A: Over the course of the sixteen years, we have been in business we have worked with several local entities to include Phoebe's Home, Books & a Blanket, our local Brazos Bluebonnet Quilt Guild, our local animal shelter, and our local food bank. When we have sponsored any campaign for these groups, we have always found our customers to be very generous, with both their time and monetary donations. It is very important to me that these endeavors stay local.
Q: Any other information you would like to share.
A: I am really pretty shy and probably more introverted than people suspect.
Quilting has brought Terry many relationships, including those with her staff and customers. She works hard to provide a warm and friendly environment that people want to be a part of; her motto is, "Come in as a customer, leave as a friend." Next time you run into Terry, wish her happy anniversary!