James F. Osborne
James Osborne has become one of the most successful independent sewing machine retailers in Tennessee during the last 20 years. He has worked in the sewing business since starting with a Singer dealer in Newport, Kentucky straight out of High School in 1961. After four years, he took his sales skills to Zayre’s Department store in Indianapolis, Indiana. He returned to the Singer dealership in 1971.
Jim opened his first store in Sevierville, Tennessee in 1973. The first Sew ‘N’ Vac Outlet became so successful, that in 1984 Jim and his wife Jackie opened a second store in Knoxville, Tennessee. They opened another Knoxville location in 1993.
Much of Jim’s success can be attributed to his willingness to try new products and ideas. Jim has always been the first to try new promotional programs from manufacturers, sharing his experience with them to add to their success. He has also been a firm believer in advertising, creating some of the most innovative and effective sewing machine advertisements.
Jim and Jackie give their customers the best possible service, and train their employees to do the same. Their Sew ‘N’ Vac Outlets provide customers with a number of sewing programs, specialty sewing classes and new machine training. They do all they can to make sure buyers know how to use their new machines to the fullest.
Jim has willingly shared his knowledge and experience with other independent dealers. Whether they are just starting out in the business, or are established dealers who have hit a slump, Jim has always been ready to help. He has driven across the country to help someone having trouble. He has lent other dealers merchandise, organized sales for them, given them new promotional ideas or set them up with a consistent advertising program to get them back on track.
Jim believes that the more successful independent dealers there are, the more successful all dealers will be. To add to the independent dealer’s success, both Jim and Jackie have taught classes for the VDTA and ISMDA. Jim in sewing repair, trade ups and effective advertising and Jackie in sewing instruction.
Jim is also active in his community. He has been a past Deputy Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus and a Boy Scout and Cub Scout Leader.
He has received a number of industry awards, including top Salesman of the Year out of 500 salespeople from Zayre’s department stores, the New Home Outstanding Sales Award for over 10 years, the Viking Outstanding Achievement Award for two years and being named a Regional Sales Leader for New Home.
1995 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee