Business

Inspired to Sew makes space for creativity, connection in Cedar Rapids

A customer pays for her purchases at Inspired to Sew, 1000 Old Marion Rd. NE, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 21
A customer pays for her purchases at Inspired to Sew, 1000 Old Marion Rd. NE, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Jill Reicks and Therese Gansen, owners of Inspired to Sew, find joy in creating a small business that leaves a big impact on its customers.

“This is what people need now,” Reicks said. “They are craving connection, and our classes are about meeting new friends.

“We have many people who come on their own and we want them to feel safe and cared about and listened to. And we try to just be present so people can find a place to belong.”

Inspired to Sew sells sewing machines, fabrics and other items, and offers a variety of educational opportunities for those seeking to improve their sewing skills. They also have a five-member team that services sewing machines.

They draw in local customers as well as those from surrounding areas — often within a drive of a couple of hours — for their offerings, Reicks said.

“This is a destination,” Reicks said.

But it’s not just about sewing.

The Inspired to Sew staff boasts about 20 employees.

“We have a daily morning meeting, and we talk about our top core value being people of service. Our biggest growth in the last few years is focusing on our culture and building relationships,” Reicks said.

Those relationships are important with their vendors and the group of national speakers Inspired to Sew brings in each year for various events.

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The mother-daughter Reicks-Gansen duo have been working together for many years. They opened their first family-owned store, then called Pine Needles Quilt Shop, in 1999 in Cresco.

A few years into the business, they began to get requests to open a store in a bigger city and ultimately decided on Cedar Rapids. Gansen joined the business full time in 2003 and helped run both stores before they sold the Cresco location that same year.

As business began to grow in the Cedar Rapids market, the store relocated to its current spacious location on the northeast side. They have been settling in since, deciding to change the business name to Inspired to Sew in 2010.

“We seek to inspire our customers and we thought our name should reflect that,” Reicks said.

“And we feel like we should always be reinventing ourselves,” Gansen added. “We really stay on top of what our customers are looking for in products and classes.

“We look for creative niche opportunities. We really curate our offerings to products we can stand behind.”

“But in the same way we try new things, we don’t try everything,” Reicks added. “We don’t want to do it if we can’t do it correctly and effectively. Consistency is so important for us.”

Classes — from learning to use a new machine or sewing your first project all the way up through machine embroidery and advanced quilting — are offered daily. Some classes are free, while others carry a fee.

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“Even when you are in the store, our team on the floor is doing demonstrations,” Gansen said. “This isn’t about our skills and abilities. This is about inspiring others to find their passion.

“We want people to be learning about this hobby and craft. And so we offer a lot of products we can teach you more about.”

“We have a lot of people come in and say, ‘I am not creative or I am not crafty,’ and we just don’t believe that,” Reicks said. “We help our customers find their voice. We want to motivate them and call them to action.”

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At a glance

• Owners: Jill Reicks and Therese Gansen

• Company: Inspired to Sew

• Address: 1000 Old Marion Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids

• Phone: (319) 373-0334

• Website: inspiredtosew.com

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