116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON — Blooming Acres is blooming new business ventures these days.
Becka Owen has owned and operated Blooming Acres, a floral shop in the historic First Street Building the heart of Mount Vernon, for years. But last year, a new opportunity presented itself when a large space opened up in the same building.
Blooming Acres Sewing and Craft Studio has been offering a variety of sewing classes — mainly for children — and also can be rented out by other crafters and quilters.
“It's kind of a combo space, which is super fun,” Owen said.
“Depending on what's going on, we can be using it for our classes including flower arranging and winter wreaths or painting. We also use it for our kids’ early outs classes that happen on Wednesdays.”
Last summer Blooming Acres dove into hosting summer sewing camps — making pillowcases and American Girl doll clothing, among other items.
“We have found it a lot easier to fill kids’ classes than adult classes,” Owen said.
“If it's a girls’ night out activity, they'll commit but it's really hard to get 25- to 55-year-old women or men to give themselves the freedom to do something extra. But our kids’ classes fill right up.”
She added that, “So many moms come in and tell us they have a sewing machine but they don’t know how to use it. But their kids want to learn to use it.
“I think there’s a generation of parents out there that weren’t taught by their parents. And there is a little bit of an intimidation factor with the machines sometimes..”
That’s where the classes come in.
“We teach the kids and let them learn and try new things and they don’t have to worry about breaking it,” Owen said.
Owner: Becka Owen
Address: 221 First St. NE, Mount Vernon
Phone: (319) 895-6077
Grant funding allowed Blooming Acres to purchase sewing machines that can be used for classes with children wanting to learn to sew. Attendees also are welcome to bring their own sewing machine from home.
Owen said the renewed interest in crafting, quilting and sewing has helped the new segment of the business, well, bloom.
“Our first introduction to sewing class is just the basics and how to use the machine. Kids end up making a scrunchie,” Owen said.
“Then we usually recommend making a pillowcase after that. Once they have done that, it’s kind of open to whatever they want to make.”
Owen said the shop has the supplies and fabric needed for the classes as well to keep things convenient.
Blooming Acres has begun using the space to host birthday parties, too, which is ideal for anyone who likes to do crafting but isn’t excited about having the mess that comes with it happen at their home.
Owen said her staff has great depth in working with children, anywhere from teaching pre-school to teenagers. Having a couple additional sewing teachers on board helps with the amount of classes they are able to offer.
Her team also takes a more hands-on approach with the other parts of the business, such as floral arrangements, so Owen can focus on getting the newer programs off the ground.
The different segments of the business complement each other in a number of ways, Owen said. For example, most of the floral arranging for the day happens by the time school is out and when after-school classes would begin.
“It’s just so fun to work with these kids,” Owen said. “Some kids are just fascinated by the machine and like to see all the different stitches it can do.
“And some of the kids want to make and sell their own clothes. It is so fun watching them pick out fabric and I just love to watch them help each other.”
Beyond the work tables and sewing machines, there are ironing stations, design walls, and a small kitchenette — “So adults can come in and rent the space and get together to work on projects,” Owen said.
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