While many business owners have been walking on pins and needles awaiting the pandemic’s next financial hardship, the textile industry has used those pins and needles to their advantage. The owner of Great Falls textile shop Bernina Silver Thimble said this trend made its way to Montana as well.
Debra Royce said the pandemic awakened the public’s love of textile work - particularly sewing. “There’s been a true resurgence or excitement about sewing again,” Royce said.
As more people try their hand at sewing, fewer sewing machines remain on hand for interested buyers: “We just can’t keep a machine in the store."
Although they’ve planned ahead in an effort to meet customers’ demands, she said they’ve had difficulty getting new ones in quickly. “We are pre-ordering but...it’s just slow in getting them in,” Royce said.
She attributes this summer’s increase in business to more people taking interest in making masks - and a difference. “Usually summertime it really slacks down because people are out doing their camping and their boating and all that stuff, and I think they are doing that too but they’re also wanting to make a difference so they’re sewing,” Royce said.
However, one out-of-state shopper, Donna Smith, discovered quilting long before the pandemic and has spent time these past few months doing just that. “I do baby quilts and quilts for my grandkids,”Smith said. She said she’ll keep up with the creative pastime after the pandemic ends. “Even if there’s not a pandemic, it’s just like, yeah, that’s what I do,” Smith said.
Thanks to the devotion of shoppers like Smith, textile shops like Bernina Silver Thimble can continue thriving well into the future.
Bernina Silver Thimble is located at 3301 10th Avenue South in Great Falls.