TAKE A LOOK — Local quilt shop owner expands to larger facility; celebrations planned this week

Published 12:40 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

NEDERLAND — A lot can happen in six months. Just ask Cindy Thomas.

She is the owner of The Cottage Quilting + Embroidery, which opened in January in a cozy shop on Nall Street in Port Neches. The business grew so fast it necessitated a larger facility. Customers can get a look at the new location from 10 a.m. at 5 p.m. Friday at 3515 Nederland Avenue.

Inside the bright, airy shop, Thomas spoke of the expansion journey.

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She was continually asked why she wasn’t offering classes or carrying a specific brand of fabric. Soon she was getting up at 4 a.m. and quilting when in the beginning she would start work at 6 a.m.

“I tried to push and make the classes happen,” Thomas said. “We even tried to do some hand sewing, and it was just too much togetherness.”

While she was busy with the business, her husband went on an eight-state motorcycle trip with a small group of friends and came back relaxed and removed from seeing just how busy Thomas was. Things were piling up and there was a backorder on quilts.

He told her she couldn’t sustain the pace and she stubbornly disagreed, even though she was feeling the pressure, she said.

He offered her two solutions — let the lease run out, go home, quilt and have fun; or look for a larger place.

Then two days later she went to have her nails done at a Nederland Avenue business and ended up being shown the shop next door by the owner.

She was iffy on the idea, but the salon owner asked her to bring her husband by and see it.

“I thought bingo. That’s going to be my ‘no.’ He’s gonna walk in. He’s gonna say ‘no,’ this is too big of a leap. He’s gonna be very logical,” Thomas said. “He walks in and goes, ‘Oh, you need a wall constructed there to separate the classroom. You need eight more outlets…”

She signed the lease on the new spot in mid-June and was out of the Nall Street location by June 25.

She has the support of the Quilt Guild of Beaumont, which will meet at the new location, as well as several quilting groups. She has customers from Louisiana and the Houston area who come to see what her shop has to offer.

There are several other quilt shops in the area and she doesn’t see them as competition because they each offer something different. They actually refer customers to each other if they do not have a specific item, she said.

Thomas has a number of classes and events scheduled for the future. There will be one Saturday a month where she will host a “sew-cial.” For $10 a person can come and do some sewing, bring their own machine or rent one of hers. There will be snacks and drinks.

Wednesdays will be Sit and Stitch, where, for $5, a person can sit and hand stitch at the large table on site or one of the classrooms.

On Aug. 3 she will bring in a basket wearer from Louisiana who will teach basket weaving and different baskets will be created each visit.

On Aug. 26 employee Jaysie Banken of Orangefield will teach hand embroidery.

Thomas said embroidery has become a popular activity.

“We’ve had people that have found clothing like in Fredericksburg boutiques that are jackets or jeans that are hand embroidered,” Thomas said. “They’re like $550 and they are clamoring to be taught how to do that because they’re not going to pay these prices.”

Banken is a bit younger than most quilters and embroiderers. She got interested in quilting and embroidery from her mother’s grandmother.

As she delved into the quilting craft, she entered her first quilt in the YMBL South Texas State Fair and earned an honorable mention, she said.

Banken said she has heard from people closer to her age who wonder why she even wants to do quilting. She’s even been jokingly called a grandma.

“If you take the time and do it, it’s something that you can end up loving,” Banken said, adding you don’t have to make a huge quilt. There are other smaller items that can be made.”

Besides Banken, Thomas also employs Sarah Davidson and Gabi LaRocca.

Following Saturday’s grand opening The Cottage Quilting + Embroidery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. They can be reached at 409-344-9055.