When you enter the Friendship Star Quilt Shop on Center Street in Sayre, there will be five individuals ready to help with your needs.
Mary Lou Palmer, Maryanne Geiss, and Elizabeth Geiss are the co-owners of the shop. Obi Wan and Moda are the official greeters. Obi Wan, a Black Lab / German Shepard / Corgi / Husky was named after the Star Wars character. According to Maryanne, he is also the “author” of the shop’s newsletter. Moda, a Papillon, was named after a fabric line.
In September 2012, Maryanne wanted to open a shop and thought a quilt shop would be a good idea. Her mom, Mary Lou, had been quilting since 1978. Maryanne wasn’t a quilter but she wanted to do something for her mom.
According to Maryanne, at the time, gas was around four dollars a gallon and she figured the nearest quilt shop was at least 20 miles away.
“There were no quilt shops in the Valley at the time,” said Mary Lou.
Maryanne thought that by the time people drove those 20 miles, they wouldn’t have the money to shop. She didn’t want her mom to have to travel that far for the supplies she needed.
When the quilt shop first opened, they were renting a building downtown on Desmond Street. In April 2014 they had an opportunity to purchase the building on Center Street that had been a day care.
Maryanne did most of the renovations that turned it into the quilt shop where they are currently located. She put down new floors, made repairs, painted and added new lighting specially geared for looking at fabrics. They kept the interior configuration as it had been and just added some things for the shop’s needs. Maryanne built and installed a sewing desk and a cutting table and laid the floor in the main room.
At Friendship Star Quilt Shop, customers will find over 2,500 bolts of 100 percent cotton fabrics, sewing and quilting supplies and sewing machines.
“Crafters could use them also,” said Mary Lou. “And actually anyone who sews.”
They offer classes and some sewing machine service and repairs.
“I am a factory authorized Janome, Necchi and Elna service tech,” said Maryanne, who has been to Janome service school several times to keep up on the latest technology.
They also sell sewing tables, cabinets and chairs manufactured by Arrow. And they sell sewing machine parts including light bulbs, belts and feet.
“I sell LED light bulbs for most machines,” said Maryanne. “The LED bulbs don’t get too hot.”
They carry many lines of fabric including Moda, Northcott, QT Fabrics, and Riley Blake. Their threads include Aurifil, Mettler, and Superior. They carry “Quilters Dream Batting” in wool, cotton and polyester, and a batting made from recycled materials.
“It’s made out of recycled plastic soda bottles,” explained Maryanne.
“And it feels just like polyester batting,” said Mary Lou. “It’s very soft and pliable.”
“Quilters Dream Batting Company was founded by all women,” added Mary Lou.
The Friendship Star Quilt Shop is divided into three main areas. Upon entering, a customer is in the main fabric room where they will find fabric, notions, rulers and patterns.
“We have Creative Grids rulers,” said Mary Lou.
In the middle room there is a display of quilts that changes seasonally. It’s where the bolts of novelty fabrics, flannels, and clearance fabrics are located.
The workroom is all-purpose, but it is mainly used for sewing and holding classes and demonstrations.
On the first Saturday of most months, they offer Demo Day, where they give a free pattern and demonstrate a technique.
Guest teachers come in on occasion to offer different classes. Mary Lou offers individual quilting classes.
“When new quilters or anyone who may need help comes in, we will offer as much help and advice that they need,” said Mary Lou. “Maryanne and Elizabeth have good eyes for color. And they can help people choose fabrics that look good together.”
A quilt is an investment of time, money and love. All three ladies fully realize that people need to take their time choosing fabrics and colors.
“Our goal is to make sure our customers are always happy,” said Mary Lou. “We want to help them solve their quilting problems and obstacles. We want to make sure they have a good quilting experience. We’re here for them.”
Mary Lou has also given back to the Sayre community. She made a Centennial Quilt of Sayre that will eventually be given to the Sayre Historical Society for display. It is king size and includes names of individuals of importance historically in Sayre. She used pictures of old postcards on the squares of fabric. One of the squares has the names of the people who went down on Guthrie 1.
“People who have passed away and also people who are still living,” said Mary Lou, adding, “All who have contributed to Sayre.”
Currently the centennial quilt is on display in the middle room of the shop.
“Most of our customers love our greeters,” said Maryanne. “We have some customers who are not dog owners but still come with treats for Obi Wan and Moda.”
One of those customers is A. J. Hudock who said, “The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. They have a nice variety of fabrics, thread and accessories. I just love gadgets! Especially for sewing and quilting!”
“I bring myself and my eleven year old daughter to the Demo Day workshops and we love them,” she added.
The Friendship Star Quilt Shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (570) 886-2296 or visit www.friendshipstarquiltshop.com.
When a customer walks into the Friendship Star Quilt Shop, it’s obvious that they are going to find what they will need and get plenty of friendly help doing so.
It’s also obvious that Mary Lou Palmer, Maryanne Geiss and Elizabeth Geiss all have a love for dogs. Back in 2012, in considering all the possibilities of a type of shop to open, Maryanne looked at Obi Wan and Moda and said, “We didn’t have a pet store because we wouldn’t have sold any.”