A few weeks ago by sister, brother-in-law, Dave and I took a day trip about an hour or so north of Kansas City to a small town called Hamilton, Missouri. Prior to 2008, this small town was best known for it’s most famous son, J.C. Penney, a retailer and philanthropist.
In late 2008, a phenonomon was starting when some kids got together and bought their mom a long arm quilting machine. They had no concept of what was to come.
I had become acquainted with the Missouri Star Quilt Company by one of the many free quilting tutorials Jenny Doan showcases on YouTube. The name “Missouri Star” is an old quilt pattern so I assumed that is where the name came from and did not realize their retail store was actually in Missouri and not far from my town. My sister and I were very excited about finally getting to visit the retail store in person, but after walking through it I have to admit I was a little disappointed. It was a nice store but very similar to other quilt stores I had been to even in my own town of Kansas City.
As we were paying for the fabric and notions we had bought, the clerk mentioned that we need to walk down the street and check out another store. Since we made the drive we figured it would not hurt to see what else was in the town. We were flabbergasted…….there are about 15 different store fronts, all fabric stores. One devoted to solid fabric, one devoted to licensed sports fabrics, one with modern patterns, and the list goes on. And yes, these are all part of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. There are a handful of other stores in town, but ninety percent of Davis Street, Hamilton’s main drag, belongs to the Missouri Start Quilt Company.
When I say it is a mecca for quilters throughout the world, I am not exaggerating. This sleepy town of about 2000 citizens hosts thousands of on-site visitors each year. Missouri Star Quilt Company employes 180 people who sew, staff stores and ships thousands of packages a day. The company is now in the publishing business, food service and is currently planning a “man’s land” to give the husbands of their customers something to do.
What a story this small town now has! And for me is it exciting to know that success stories can happen even in the most unlikely of places. Hamilton is a fun day trip from Kansas City especially if you like to sew or quilt. I can not wait to go back!
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