The Community Quilt
Just as you enter Covington, Tennessee, a charming, local quilt store greets you with a wide variety of fabrics, machines to help with just about any sewing or embroidery project, and excellent customer service. The Stitching Store of Covington is the place to visit, no matter your sewing skill level.
Randy Goulder and his wife Rhonda have been in the embroidery and sewing business since 2012. They started out in downtown Brighton in a space that was just 840 square feet. At first, they focused almost exclusively on embroidery work. As they steadily expanded their offerings they also had to expand their space. In March of last year, they relocated to a 9,000 square foot location off HWY 51 in Covington. “The space isn’t filled yet, but we have big plans!” Randy said smiling.
When customers come to the store, they can expect a conversation with a sewing professional. The owners don’t just want to sell products off the shelf; they want to help their customers with their projects. Customers include those looking to polish existing sewing skills or to be inspired by different techniques. Some people arrive with their projects in tow to request help, some need machine repair or embroidery guidance, and others come to learn new skills altogether!
Members of several quilting guilds frequent the store. When they come in, Randy and his team will help them pick fabrics. If joining a guild is something that interests you, there is one in Jackson, one in Millington, and three in Memphis. Quite often, a group will coordinate and come in to work on their projects together. Quilting is social hobby, and the guild members love being able to do their socializing while they work on their latest pieces. If quilters enjoy piecing together a quilt top but do not wish to do all of the quilting themselves, Randy is happy to help. One would only need to bring in the completed top and the team will finish it for you. For those interested, they also sell some very nice, heavy duty quilting machines, as well as already completed quilts. There’s literally something for everyone, no matter your skill level.
Randy beamed with pride while sharing some of his favorite customers that come in; one faithful customer in particular that touches his heart is a sweet lady who’s brought in over 50 projects to be quilted over the years. She makes them and gives them to folks as gifts. So many patrons are very loyal, continue to come in, bring their quilts and support Randy and the Team. Another favorite of Randy’s is the Saturday Sew-In: A Modern Quilt Guild that comes in the second Saturday of every month to fellowship and sew together.
Randy Goulder didn’t always work in textiles. For years he was employed by Kellogg's, working his way up from sweeping the floor to Operations Manager. When he retired in 2012, he wanted something to keep him busy and had always been interested in sewing. Of course, it helped that his wife Rhonda was an avid sewer and embroiderer. After looking over her shoulder for a time, he decided to take a few classes on sewing machine repair—and the rest is history. Since most of his career was spent in a training capacity, The Stitching Store was a natural transition for Randy. Now he gets to continue learning and expanding his knowledge on machine operations and techniques; all the while teaching and training others.
Inside The Stitching Store you can find a wide range of Juki brand sergers, sewing machines, and quilting machines. Most recently, Randy has added a new offering at the shop! More and more people kept asking about embroidery so he brought on Brother, a company known for their embroidery. “It’s pretty expensive bringing on a new dealership,” said Randy “but we’re hoping to keep doing that to bring our customers more choices.” The Juki brand is known for quilting. Initially they were solely industrial machines, but in the 1930’s and 40’s they started working their way into private homes. Juki’s are tough machines with reasonable prices, while Brother rules in embroidery! The store recently started carrying Brother Sewing Machines. This is huge because Brother has an extensive network of professional trainers who come in and help clients throughout their projects. Randy sees it as a workshop or special event. He is looking forward to bigger events with 30 to 35 attendees once he installs a big screen TV to help facilitate event participation.. You can also find Gammill quilting machines which are very heavy duty. If you’re not looking to purchase one, you can always rent one to do your own quilting.
Also available are Arrow and Kangaroo brand sewing cabinets and other storage solutions. They also sell vinyl cutters, vinyl supplies, embroidery threads, and stabilizers. Most of their fabric is quilters cotton, and let me tell you, their selection is outstanding! At the request of their customers, they also carry a selection of beautiful yarns for crocheting and knitting, as well as embroidery floss.
The evolution of The Stitching Store has been a natural one. “You start off with one or two specialties and then expand to this, that, and the other,” shared Randy, “til you run out of energy, money, or square footage.” Always eager to learn, Randy is headed to Houston next week for some embroidery machine classes. He wants to learn all he can about them. Learning is a constant process in order to keep up with changes in both equipment and operations, but Randy does it so he can pass the knowledge along to his much appreciated customers.
Classes for quilting run $10-20 for the attendance fee and generally last an hour and a half to three hours. Keep in mind that this does not include the fabric and supply costs. Embroidery classes are usually more expensive, but they are much longer classes. If interested, you can sign up online, come into the shop, or call to reserve a seat in the class. Long-arm free-motion quilting and crocheting classes are among others available.
The Stitching Store is your one-stop shop for a professional staff who offer a panoply of sewing products, services, and classes—all this with the courtesy and values of a true family-operated business.
If you’d like to be added to The Stitching Store Newsletter emailing list, contact Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll receive updates in your Inbox.