January 2016: Small Business Startup

Fabric and Sew Much More

"Fabric and Sew Much More" owner Debbie L. Wood with fabric samples inside her Clayton store. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

“Fabric and Sew Much More” owner Debbie L. Wood with fabric samples inside her Clayton store. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

After Debbie L. Wood, 56, retired last year from her maintenance job at the Clayton Recreation Park Arena, she decided it was time to turn her passion for sewing into a full-time business.

During her tenure at the arena, Mrs. Wood did a variety of work, everything from running the Zamboni machine at the ice rink, to mowing the park lawns.

But during her free time, she was busy creating handcrafted fabric items, such as embroidered towels and placements, aprons and towels, plastic bag holders, and clothespin bags.

“I spent a lot of weekends traveling to craft shows,” she said.

After many hours of discussion with her husband, Keith, she decided that her “retirement project” would be to establish a full-time business selling a variety of fabrics for sewing and quilting, along with many handmade craft items.

“He was my biggest supporter” in making the decision to open her own business, Mrs. Wood said.

She opened “Fabric and Sew Much More” last November at 38648 State Route 12E, Clayton. She is renting the space for her business, and has stocked it with a large variety of fabrics for sewing and quilting projects.

Mrs. Wood said she may start selling additional materials, such as rayon or polyester, depending on the demand, she said. New bolts of fabric are arriving each month, she said.

“I’m hoping to save people a trip to Watertown” or even a further distance from the Thousand Islands region, she said.

Mrs. Wood said the building also has a large vacant room that is available for use by different groups, such as quilting guilds. This would give them the opportunity to share their projects, she added.

She also offers classes to those interested in learning more about the variety of craft items that can be created by sewing or quilting.

When she decided to open her own business, Mrs. Wood first sought assistance from the Small Business Development Center at Jefferson Community College to establish herself as a DBA operation.

The Watertown SBDC serves residents of Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego counties, including Fort Drum. It has outreach offices at the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency, Lowville, and at SUNY Oswego.

The SBDC offers a variety of assistance, including help developing a business plan, locating funding sources, creating a market plan, and earning about e-commerce. All services are free of charge.

Mrs. Wood has also allowed other crafters to sell their items at her store.
For example, there are a variety of fleece hats and scarfs, along with crocheted head wear.

“I’m offering a few others crafters the opportunity to sell through consignment,” she said.

The store hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or by appointment. Visit the store’s Facebook Page or call 686-3006 to learn more.

— Norah Machia, NNY Business