The VDTA•SDTA Dealer of the Month for April is Crafty Corner Quilt and Sewing Shoppe, owned by Ken and Zuby Jansen. Located at 1920 Oxford Street in Worthington, MN, Crafty Corner retains one full-time manager and 3-5 part-time employees. Everyone tackles each day with the Jansen's business motto – "Sell the Best and Service the Rest."
The Jansens first opened the doors to Crafty Corner in 1982 as a consignment store. It soon attracted a more hands-on demographic and transitioned into a quilt shop. By 1984 with their quilt business booming, the Jansens added BERNINA sewing machines and sergers to their product selection. Continuing to grow as a center for sewists and quilters alike, they expanded even further. At today's location, the Crafty Corner boasts over 9,000 bolts of fabrics, notions, rulers, and of course BERNINA machines.
A certified technician is available to service and repair BERNINAs in addition to nearly every brand of sewing machine. Oftentimes, when a customer has trouble with their machine at home, they can call staff who talk them through a solution. Crafty Corner also sells Koala and Tracy cabinets and Oreck, Lindhaus, and Fuller lines of vacuum cleaners.
More than selling, Crafty Corner offers a superb assortment of classes that include "Beginning Quilting," "Embroidery," and "Using the BSR" plus projects involving paper piecing, specific quilting kits, and new sewing techniques. Customers who purchase a BERNINA sewing machine receive six free guide classes. The classes are targeted for all age groups, from beginners to those more accomplished.
As for events, owner Zuby hosts the "BERNINA Club" each month where sewists socialize, present new ideas, and show-and-tell their latest creations. The store also participates in "Shop Hops" where customers are bused in from other areas. The Jansens take it upon themselves to organize and lead a week-long bus tour for customers to the International Quilt Show in Paducah as well.
Besides serving customers, the Jansens and their employees serve their community. Employees help out with local theatre productions, volunteer at senior centers, work with high school Math League and Knowledge Bowl teams, and serve as members of the Lions Club. The Jansens participate in their area Chamber of Commerce, Community Improvement Board, and Governmental Affairs Board. They are further involved with Kiwanis, Helping Hands for Pregnancy Center, and the local Parks and Recreation board. As a store, Crafty Corner works with the Linus Quilt Project to provide blankets and quilts for children in need.
The Crafty Corner has been the recipient of many awards, including: the BERNINA Presidents Award, multiple BERNINA District Dealer of the Year awards, and the Athena Award for Woman of the Year in Worthington, MN.
Ken offers advice to others in the industry, saying "In these modern times of internet shopping, it is important to remember that customer service is the new marketing strategy of retailers. As George Patton said, 'Always do more than is required of you.'" Crafty Corner will long be remember as having satisfied customers, which is the best business strategy of all.
Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional & SQE Professional, April 2017