Husband and wife Bill Greehey and Michele Stenson established American Folk Art & Craft Supply in 2004 with a mission to help preserve America's rich history in handcrafted arts. An entrepreneur and award-winning quilter and rug-maker, Michele attributes her love for crafting and home projects to her grandmother, who taught her how to sew. Upon completing her MBA, Michele worked in management and finance in the Boston area, and after 25 years left to open her very own quilt and craft shop.
As the store's full-time teacher, Michele invites beginners to learn the basic skills of quilting such as rotary cutting, piecing, and binding, and encourages established students to hone and practice their techniques. Multiple classes are offered daily in addition to regularly-scheduled clubs, including Presser Foot Club, Embroidery Club, and the Thimbleberries. Michele's exceptional teaching extends beyond her store, as she hosted a half-hour DIY show for local public access television.
Likewise, Bill contributes to American Folk Art's (AFA) unending education as a certified PFAFF, Husqvarna-Viking, and Brother software teacher. Travelling to conventions and training sessions across the country is no obstacle to staying current with the latest embroidery software features. Bill also travels for technical training sessions from machine manufacturers, and works as an expert sewing machine technician. While also employed as an engineer for the Department of Defense, Bill ensures all of AFA's machines are working and the customers are happy!
Being the only full-service sewing machine and quilt shop on the south shore of Massachusetts, customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance. AFA's product lines consist of Brother, PFAFF, Husqvarna-Viking, Singer, and Simplicity sewing and embroidery machines, plus Inspira and Horn of America cabinets. They also offer a large selection of hand-dyed wool fabric with well over 100 colors, plus a variety of mill-dyed wool fabric and designer quilting cottons, patterns, and kits.
American Folk Art & Craft Supply supports regional groups including churches, Girl/Boy Scouts, and local efforts to raise money for charities, including the Susan G. Coleman Breast Cancer Foundation. Many students and some teachers make and donate quilts to local and regional charities, and the store attends local quilt guild shows whenever possible. Offering advice to other dealers, Michele suggests, "Listen, speak up, and lean in!"
Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional & SQE Professional, October 2017