My passion for retail was awakened at the age of sixteen when I started a part-time job at a local fashion store in my hometown. I really loved every aspect of the business from selling to creating displays and soon window dressing. I could hardly wait to go to work because I was always creating something new and exciting people enjoyed, I had found my niche. . . I worked with my mentor for seven years and during that time I learned a lot about retail, helped him open another store, went to market, worked on advertising simply everything. I finished school, went to college and fell in love. I married Reed Horton, had three children and was a stay at home mom involved in craft clubs and making my house a home.
We moved to Spring Green in 1979 and I was again involved in groups with the children and I met a special friend that taught me how to cross stitch. I loved it, we road tripped to stitchery shops with our girls and just loved what we could create with our hands. I fell in love with samplers and the more primitive folk art look, thus this became the look I would try and mirror in my own home. My husband and I also love pine antiques and the warmth they lend to your home’s decor. Like I really need to love something else, but one of the antiques I was drawn to was old quilts. I have a collection I love to display and use and I also like textiles so I have collected a lot of them over the years as well. Now knowing this about me the next logical step would be to open my own business and that’s exactly what I did in 1983. I opened COUNTRY SAMPLER in a very quaint 456 square foot retail space in a courtyard in Spring Green. I outgrew this space very quickly because when I opened I was just a little cross stitch shop, with some neat folk-art and furniture that would cozy up the atmosphere. I made a move to main street, into a great historical building that was known to the locals as the Royal Blue a bustling grocery in its time. We graduated to 1800 square feet of space and no one thought we could possibly fill it but I’m here today to tell you it can be done!
When I was in the smaller space I longed for fabric, we used it for finishing our cross stitch and to enhance the decor. I decided it was time to go to quilt market and see what was available. Overwhelmed and excited I stepped off the curb and haven’t looked back since. We have grown into a quilt shop, awarded a top 10 status in 2000 by Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork and Quilting Quilt Sampler Magazine. I cannot tell you the thrill this award was for me, I have always poured my heart and soul into my business and this was a milestone I will always treasure. My little town of Spring Green is 1486 people and we are a destination town for tourists so my customers have had to travel and spread the word about the shop. I really have to be unique and so creating the shop’s atmosphere was of great importance, I wanted a feeling of warmth that reflects my personality when my customer steps in the door. I love classical & standards music, cozy vignettes of period home furnishings, antiques intermingled and used for displaying fabrics, cross stitch samplers and folk-art. Our fabrics are a reflection of my passion for antique looking reproduction prints and homespuns and I also like the modern country shabby chic look. Now you have it, Country Sampler is all about my passions, old samplers, great fabrics for quilting and home decorating, and presentation.
I have a wonderful creative staff, not only are we team players but we have become family over the years. Everyone brings an array of knowledge and energy that compliments each other. Presentation is very important to me through out the shop and our Quilt kits are the frosting on the cake that our customers hate to unwrap. I take that as a compliment to the shop girls that work so hard to make everything special they touch. I hope you will decide to get to know us.
You are likely to see pictures of Reed and me, our grown up family Scott, Rob, and Sara, and our six grandchildren Michael, Marcus, Mason, Emma Ayden and Carley. We also have two spoiled kitties at home Maddie and Meg.
I try to keep everyone up with me and the shop girls when I write my weekly email newsletter. It comes out every Thursday morning unless I’m traveling or just need to schedule it for another day due to my schedule. You can sign up for the email on our front page. It is informative, fun and something our customers look forward to getting weekly. Most important I hope it makes you smile and even giggle.
Reed and I own our building now and we have transformed the 2nd floor into a wonderful Retreat Space called our 2nd Story that you can rent. We sleep seven.
We have all of our classes in our new gathering space known as our SchoolRoom which was completed almost two years ago.
Am I crazy at 62 years old? Probably, I know my husband Reed thinks so, but I’m always dangling a carrot out there for myself to see if I can make something more wonderful happen. My latest adventure has been to design fabric for Windham fabrics. My fourth line dropped to stores in May of 2011 it is calledAmerican Spirit we have it posted on the front page if you would like to take a look under my fabrics.
So after 28 years in this business I’m still passionate for what I do, I can still come to work excited like that teenage girl did years ago and still love this crazy retail life. So somewhere along the way I’ve discovered the secret to success, hard work, love what you do and never give up and you have to be a little stubborn too. A big thank you is owed to all of you that challanged me and made me always want to do better. I hope you all will find my business something you have been looking for and share it with your friends and most important plan a visit, we will try to motivate, inspire and become your best friend.