Gardiner’s Sew & Quilt closing after 40 years in business

Sep 21 2013 - 5:45pm

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NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Danielle Bowman chooses fabrics during the store closing sale at Gardiner’s Sew & Quilt.
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Danielle Bowman chooses fabrics during the store closing sale at Gardiner’s Sew & Quilt.

SOUTH OGDEN -- A line of women waits outside the door of Gardiner's Sew & Quilt.

 Inside, women of all ages, some with small children at their feet, mill around as they flip through pattern and instruction books or feel fabric between their fingers.

Others wait in long lines with bolts of fabric of various colors, textures and patterns in their arms.

The women gathered on Thursday at Gardiner's Sew & Quilt for the first day of the store's closeout sale. Pink price tags mark 20 percent off all of the merchandise. On the walls, signs explain that all sales are final. A display holds the prize giveaways, which include a standing mixer, a toaster oven and a big-screen TV.

After four decades in business, Kurt and Irene Gardiner, who are in their 80s, decided it is time to hang up the scissors and roll up the batting.

"We just gotta retire," Kurt Gardiner says. "The years have caught up with us."

The Gardiners hope to sell everything in the store and close up by the beginning of December.

"Everything will go, including the fixtures we've had for 40 years," Gardiner says.

To prepare for the closeout sale, the Gardiners sent out 20,000 direct mail fliers.

Gardiner hopes to bring in his regulars but expects the discount prices will bring in new customers as well.

"We're going to be seeing people we never had before in our store," Gardiner says. "We're just going to be happy to have them now."

Before selling fabric and quilting supplies, Gardiner sold Singer sewing machines in Utah before receiving a promotion and managing a Singer store in Durango, Colo.

When the Gardiners returned to Ogden, they opened their first sewing machine shop at 1508 Washington Blvd., where they stayed for 17 years.

Through that time, they stayed in business by adapting to changing tastes and catering to the quilting crowd.

"We saw the decline of the sewing machine world and we decided we had to do something, and we decided to go into fabric," Gardiner says.

"Quilting is now something more than just something to keep you warm in the winter It is an art form. People quilt to make a thing of beauty, and that is primarily our clientele now."

Over the years, the store followed the motto: We supply everything for the quilter.

"We either got it, will get it or do it," Gardiner says.

Even with the new focus, however, the couple continues to sell sewing machines and is selling off a collection of antique sewing machines.

Ogden resident Mandi Hessing was among those waiting in line to get into the store around noon Thursday with her two children to buy some fabric.

She began coming to Gardiner's Sew & Quilt when she moved to Ogden a few years ago and makes quilts for her children. She says she has about 10 works in progress.

Hessing received the direct mail flier informing her of the store closing.

"I'm sad," Hessing says. "They have good-quality fabric here."

Plain City resident Sandy Garner came to pick up some fabric for her quilting business, Quick Quality Quilting, and talk to the staff.

She says she has come to the store once a week for years.

"My husband waits in the parking lot," Garner says.

She is sad to see the store go and will miss the support and knowledge the store offered. The staff taught her to appreciate good-quality fabric and helped persuade her husband to buy a Gammill long-arm quilter.

"I started crying. I called my daughter and said, 'They are going to close,' " she says.

"When I started quilting, I would buy any fabric to quilt with, and after coming in here and seeing the difference between their fabric and other fabric, I realized it's better to pay a little more."

More importantly, Garner says she will have trouble finding the selection anywhere else in the area.

"They have such a variety that you can't find in any other store. We really need this store," Garner says. "You come through the front door, and they have them all lined up, the newest, the latest."

Now she will have to order online or go to Salt Lake City.

In the meantime, Garner says she will offer her support for the next few months and will continue to come in and pick up fabric.

While his store maybe be closing, Gardiner knows the love for quilting remains.

"It's been exciting to see the women that take up quilting and enjoy the sense of satisfaction, the sense of self-worth for creating and finishing something of beauty," he says.

"This is a passion which will capture the women, and when they start, they can't stop -- it's infectious."

Gardiner's Sew & Quilt, 3489 Wall Ave., South Ogden, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 801-394-4466.

Contact reporter Jesus Lopez Jr. at 801-625-4239 or jlopez@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @jesuslopezSE.

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