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The Little Shop on the Corner: Julie’s Quilt Shop

The little quilt shop on the corner of Sullivan Street and Inspiration Avenue buzzes with activity every day of the week except Sunday. In fact since opening last year, Julie’s Quilt Shop in Miami has become one of the most prolific businesses on Sullivan Street; a location long known for its quaint weekend-antique shops and dead-quiet days, Sullivan Street is getting a new reputation. It’s the place to buy fabric or talk-shop.

Since Julie’s opened its doors last September, Julie and Don Reiman have steadily built a reputation on their large inventory and their warm reception. Customers will find a wealth of fabrics and notions and all the “extras” which makes sewing or quilting projects complete, as well as customer-friendly policies, from knowledgeable advice and lay-away programs, to in-house service for any and all kinds of sewing machines. 

The funny thing about the Quilt Shop is that Don and Julie did not start out to own a quilt shop. It sort of snuck up on them as these things can do when you’re eye is on the “other ball”. The original plan involved moving to Miami and opening an antiques shop. Both of them are semi-retired and were attracted to the slower pace of the Globe-Miami communities. Don retired from the computer/cable industry and had been collecting old cookware, crockery and Arizona memorabilia for years. Julie had spent the last several years with a high-traffic sewing center in the Valley, representing Viking sewing machines and was their top salesperson. Together they said good-bye to the Valley last year and purchased a building on Sullivan Street, opening The Grey Parrot Antiques in April of ’06.

It didn’t take long before Julie asked Don if she could bring in some of her sewing things to the shop and he willingly envisioned the front window. She, on the other hand, had more in mind … like half the store. That is when they began eyeing the building across the street. The little shop on the corner was owned at the time by AJ Flores, a former Miami mayor. The building had sat vacant for nearly a decade, but had a sound structure and a great location. Flores had put it on the market last year and had several interested parties; he chose to sell to Julie.

As she says, “I think he liked the idea of a sewing center in town”. It was something the community could use. A hometown sort of thing. Of course, it didn’t hurt that his wife was a quilter! A year later the store is thriving and attracting customers from Tucson, Albuquerque and Phoenix, as well as the surrounding areas of Globe, Miami and Roosevelt.

One of the keys to their success is the strength of the Viking line of sewing machines. Viking is a Swedish company known for their sewing machines and offers a complete line of high quality, user-friendly machines for every niche, whether the sewer’s interest is quilting, crafting, fashion sewing or home. The Reimans were successful in getting the Viking dealership for the area and came home with over 20 machines on their first stocking order. They now represent both Viking and Singer sewing machines from under $200 to over $6000 and everything in between.

The store stocks a large inventory of fabrics which are arranged primarily by categories, such as Southwestern, Urban, Traditional, Cowboy, etc. While this can make it easier for some shoppers to pull a project together with complimentary patterns, others will pull fabrics from all over the store and mix and match the collections. There is no right or wrong way to go about this. It is a creative process after all.

The Reimans stock nearly 100 colors of rickrack and a variety of notions, supplies and books to help their customers complete any project. And classes are offered on everything from quilting to custom appliquéd purses.

As a recent article, by Steve Fisher with Costco says, “If, when you think of sewing and embroidery, you envision a Norman Rockwell painting of an old woman in a rocking chair with needle and thread, you don’t know needle arts in the 21st century”. Repor

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