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Ann and Michael Siewert had a successful and popular fabric shop in Las Vegas, New Mexico they had been running for 11 years or so. They decided it would be a good thing to move their business to Las Cruces. It was February 2020 when the deal was completed and the lease signed, so there was no turning back, Ann said.
When the coronavirus hit and everything shut down, the Siewerts had no choice but to keep their business plans moving. Opening in May 2020, ThreadBear Quilt and Yarn Shop, 2205 B, Main St. Las Cruces, made its bid to survive.
“We just needed a bigger market,” Ann said. “So, we are just making the best of it.”
The couple started ThreadBear because Ann loves fabric. The quilts she made became the excuse to use the materials. Currently, she is working on a chicken quilt, putting out one chicken square after the other.
“We started during the great recession at the bottom of 2009,” Michael said. “That wasn’t nearly as scary as this. But it is driven by the passion. That’s why you do this. It is no get-rich-quick scheme. It’s about color and beauty and the integrity of hand work.”
Michael is a knitter. The shop contains a large selection of quilting fabrics, as well as a wall covered with skeins of yarn. It also has a long-arm quilting machine with a two to three-month back-up of customers who want their creations quilted by the machine.
Michael said they are enjoying their new home and the warmer weather in Las Cruces.
“Down here, it seems all light and warmth and nice people,” he said.
When the Siewerts found their location, they were prepared to lease the front part of the store, about 3,000 square feet. But there was an additional space at the back of the building that was not being utilized, and it was offered to them at a good price.
“We ended up with what we would consider to be a luxuriously large classroom,” Michael said. “As it turns out it, was a lucky deal.”
Now, the extra square-footage is paying off. ThreadBear can offer space for people to work and holds classes with room to socially distance.
As things open up and people keep becoming more aware of ThreadBear, stock will be growing fairly significantly, he said.
“Because of what we have learned about our customers here, we are adapting to the needs of the area,” he said. “Soon, we’ll be carrying a good deal more yarn.”
They are working with area wool dyers too. Michael said there is a woman who lives in Doña Ana, Ladonna Maxwell, whose dyed yarns they carry.
“Were always looking for local yarns in particular,” he said. “Fabric tends to be a larger scale operation. but there are a lot of gifted dyers out here. We may even move into looms and weaving supplies at some point.”
In the meanwhile, ThreadBear is an open and comfortable space for quilt groups, knitters and learners to visit, filling a niche in Las Cruces.
“We hope we are filling a real need in the community, and we hope we are building a relationship that will last long after this is over,” Michael said. “Right now, its great to have the space and offer a facility for groups that traditionally met in senior centers and churches, many of which are still kind of locked down.”