Business

Village Needlework three stores in one

Joan Ackerman, store owner at Village Needlework in Marion on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Joan Ackerman, store owner at Village Needlework in Marion on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
/

MARION — In an age of digital handheld devices, some people still practice hands-on crafts.

“We have all ages (come into the store), down to probably about seven or eight,” said Village Needlework owner Joan Ackerman. “We’ve had some classes in conjunction with the (Marion) library, and we’ve been able to attract a lot of kids.”

Sales of books and project patterns have shifted online, but customers still value the know-how and experience of Ackerman and her staff — which is her family.

“They’ll bring in their questions about patterns and things,” she said. “If there’s little tips and tricks I can help them out with, they appreciate that. So they come back.

“Some people order yarns on the internet, but the majority prefer seeing it because you never really know what it’s going to be like.”

Ackerman, 72, and her husband, Steven, purchased the store in 2010, after she retired from the local Campfire Boys and Girls organization. The business had operated in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village neighborhood for a few years before the 2008 flood.

“We started out just by buying some merchandise of stores that were closing,” Ackerman said. “We had not really planned on carrying yarn, but as we were carrying boxes into the store I had ladies stopping and asking me if we were going to have yarn. We assessed the area, and since I knitted and crocheted we decided we’d add that.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“We had a little bit of beads, but as bead stores in town have closed we’ve become the bead store, too. So we’re really three stores in one.”

Steven, daughter Julia, daughter-in-law Cindy, and granddaughter Miranda Vollmer all take shifts behind the counter. Two grandsons also pitch in.

“We’re a completely family-run store,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman said the “punch-needle” style, popular in the 1980s, seems to be enjoying a revival.

“You punch (the thread) through the fabric, and the thread stays under the fabric,” she said.

Quilters look for specialized thread, and many ornament their pieces with needlework. The local Czech heritage is reflected through the hardanger style of embroidery, Ackerman said.

“That’s really more of a Norwegian style, but there’s a lot of different needlework techniques that come from Europe,” Ackerman said.

Another move is in the business’ future, probably near the end of the year, as Marion Square Plaza is redeveloped as part of the city’s new public library project.

“We’ve scoped out a few places,” she said. “We’re wanting to stay in Marion because the whole family lives here.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

With her daughter and daughter-in-law working at the shop full-time, she expects to teach more classes.

“When we started, neither one of them were knitters or crocheters,” she said. “I told them they had to take the class so they’d know how to help people when they came in. They’re both now avid knitters and crocheters.”

l Know a business in operation for more than a year that would make an interesting “My Biz”? Contact michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

AT A GLANCE

• Owner: Joan Ackerman

• Business: Village Needlework

• Address: 1129 Seventh Ave., Marion

• Phone: (319) 362-3271

• Website: villageneedlework.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.