Wheaton quilter gets busy with new fabric shop
"I've always knitted, crocheted and cross-stitched, but I wanted to try something new," said Dorothy Minnier, owner of Mom's Backdoor Quilt Shop, located on Highway 86 in Wheaton. "So, I started learning how to quilt in 1998 and 1999."
Minnier first took classes in the Texas community resort where she and her husband wintered each year.
"My first quilt was a baby's quilt," she said. "I used a cathedral pattern and gave it to my great-grandchild."
Minnier went on to make quilts for her children and grandchildren, learning more complicated patterns with each project.
That hobby now has turned into a business.
"I'd been retired 20 years when my son opened Harley's Performance and Service Center here," Minnier said. "He sat me down one day and asked how much space I would need for a shop and then built it for me."
With the large space looking empty, Minnier decided she needed to invest in some quilting material, shelves on which to stock it and custom thread colors for sewing the colorful tops to the padding and quilt backs.
"I also want to offer quilting classes and embroidery classes," Minnier said. "I hope to establish a sewing night where people at all skill levels can bring in their own projects to work on. Others will be here to provide assistance, if necessary. We can develop projects and do whatever the group decides."
One thing about owning a business, Minnier said, is not feeling pressured to meet deadlines.
"I always said if I went back to work after retiring, it would be something with no responsibility, like running a register or greeting customers," Minnier said. "I never thought I'd be running a quilt shop."
Minnier and her daughter, Diana, often work on prayer quilts together.
"If we hear of anyone in the community who is sick, we make them a lap quilt," she said. "We have lots of scrap fabric to make lap quilts. We try to match the quilt to the person's interests."
Mom's Backdoor Quilt Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
"That's when people getting off work can come and spend time shopping or quilting," Minnier said. "So far, the traffic has been late afternoon and early evening shoppers, when other stores have closed."
The hobby business is something that Minnier said will keep her occupied in the coming months and years.
"It was time to do something," she said. "It will help fill the void after my husband died four years ago. My kids wanted me to do something, and it helps keep me busy.
"I enjoy quilting and trying new patterns," she said. "I want to open this up to others who enjoy the same thing."