By Marit Gookin
Judy Slinker, owner of Country Cottage Quilt Shoppe, is expanding her business, in multiple senses; she is expanding the quilt store itself by adding an extension to the building, and she and her husband have also purchased the lot across the street from her storefront.
Slinker first opened a quilt store outside the city of Riverton many years ago, and when she and her husband moved to Colorado, they took the store with them. The store operated out of the basement of their home there for several years, before they decided to move back to Riverton to be closer to their grandchildren. The cost of commercial rentals in Riverton was high, Slinker explained, so they decided to buy their current building outright and convert a small area in the back into an apartment.
“To live with the store is awesome, because when it’s blizzarding outside all I have to do to get to work is walk through a door,” Slinker noted.
Although Slinker earned a degree in business and accounting in college, she is passionate about quilts and is always excited to see the finished products that people bring in. Slinker has a large long-arm quilting machine, and once someone has finished piecing and sewing together the top of their quilt, they can bring their finished product in to her for her to quilt to the batting and backing.
“I feel very honored that ladies let me do their quilting for them, and trust me with that,” she said. Slinker tries to keep her turnaround time for quilts relatively short, getting them back to people within three to four weeks, because, she explained, “I try to treat people like I like to be treated.”
Between the long-arm quilting machine, fabrics, patterns and other sewing supplies, Slinker’s shop is stuffed to the brim. Expanding the building will offer even more working space for projects such as large quilts – and, the passionate quilter may note, potentially more space for even more fabrics.
But Slinker and her husband haven’t stopped there; after selling another piece of land they owned last year, they put the funds toward purchasing the empty lot across the street from the quilt store. In September, Old Hickory Sheds approached them about potentially putting its sheds on the lot and having the Slinkers sell them. Although Slinker noted that they sell sheds to a variety of people that are put to a variety of uses, one natural fit with the existing fabric shop is the idea of a “she-shed,” a space for a woman to work on projects such as quilts.
Slinker has passed on her enthusiasm for both business and fabric; one of her granddaughters comes to lend a hand with the store’s cash register during the annual quilt show every year, and Slinker said that she’s always extremely dedicated to her task.
“She’s very cute,” she described.
Slinker said that construction on the shop expansion is expected to be finished in mid-June, but that she’s planning for it to be ready to start moving some of her inventory into in July. Between that and the lot across the street, it looks like her business is only going to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.