3 Generations Come Together to Bring Sewing to Ft. Thomas
In August 2018, mother, daughter and grandmother trio April Pryor, Kelsey Pryor and Julie Seely opened Just Sew. A darling sewing shop in downtown Fort Thomas, this small business has brought the art of quilting and sewing to a new generation and put their town “on the map” as a quilting destination.
“Sewing and quilting is a dying art and we want to infuse life back into that,” said April.
The shop opened both out of the passion of April, Kelsey and Julie for sewing and quilting but also due to an opportunity to bring this type of retail to the area.
“I think Fort Thomas is going to eventually benefit from this if they’ve haven’t already because quilt shops are destinations. People will make the drive to a quilt shop from all around because they get together with family or friends and shop hop around the region, visiting several sewing shops in a trip. They stop and shop, eat at a nearby restaurant and get gas,” said April.
Just Sew offers classes for adults and youth, covering everything from sewing and quilting to applique and embroidery and ranging in skill level.
April’s mother, Julie, has been sewing for 64 years. Julie explained that sewing has gone from something people did out of necessity to now it is becoming more of an art. “It is gratifying to see someone learn - from the early stages, learning what a needle looks like, to finishing their first project.”
“There’s something about having a place, being able to come in and touch the fabric. People come in so nervous, wanting our advice on fabric choices or other details of a project,” April shared. “We help people dream and we get to see people come into their confidence as they complete projects or classes and come back to share with us.”
The shop’s ability to offer classes has built a community around their business, with a class finishing one project and immediately turning to their classmates asking “What are we going to make next?” April shared how special it has been to see groups of women bond over their projects and through the classes forming a class identity – wanting to continue that through another class and another.
As for the perks of owning a small business, April says it’s the ability to be really personal. All four of her daughters and her one son get involved in the business.
“Having family involved gives us a center, or a hub. The kids always want to know what kind of day we had,” April explained. “It is good for my daughters because they did see me commit myself to their upbringing for so long and it is tricky waters to navigate going back into a career, so my kids see how to go onto what’s next.”
While Just Sew is in its first year of business, the Pryor family isn’t new to small business having owned other businesses themselves and with their family tree pointing back to retail. Her great-great grandfather had opened a hardware store in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Although no longer in business, April visited the location of the store recently and was amazed to note the striking resemblance of her storefront and his with the same style windows and doors.
“Small business is about the heart of entrepreneurship that sees beyond oneself, thinking this could help the community, the culture and more,” said April.
Photos provided by Just Sew.
Follow along this week (5/5-11 2019) as we feature a retailer each day of National Small Business Week 2019.