Quilts & Treasures to close after 40 years of quilting

April 6, 2023 | Sarah Heinonen
sheinonen@thereminder.com

Quilts & Treasures will close its doors on April 8.
Reminder Publishing photo by Sarah Heinonen

EAST LONGMEADOW — For over 40 years, there has been a quilting shop on Shaker Road in East Longmeadow, a place where people who share the same hobby could find supplies and camaraderie. As of April 8, however, Quilts & Treasures will shut its doors for good.

Owner Valerie Morton is retiring. “I’m just as disappointed as all my customers,” she said. Morton has owned the store for 18 years. She had worked for the former owner, who called the store Thimbleworks, for a decade before purchasing the shop.

Before it was Thimbleworks, however, it was The Meadow Mouse. The original owner, Holly Howes, said the shop’s purpose when it opened at another location on Shaker Road in 1981 was to host adult education classes. The shop, named after Danny Meadow Mouse, a Thornton W. Burgess character, became popular and moved to the larger 56 Shaker Rd. storefront in 1982. After the business began selling and servicing sewing machines, the name was changed to Shaker Shopping Center. Howes said Mindy Camyre, an original employee of The Meadow Mouse still works at Quilts & Treasures, although she and the business’s nine other employees will lose their jobs when the shop closes.

Reflecting on Quilts & Treasures’s years in business, Morton said, “We’ve certainly had our share of trying times. The recession of 2008 was my scariest time of being in business.” Morton credits the quilting community for getting through those times.

As an example, she told a story that happened a few years ago when there were five snowstorms within a four-week span. The weather had a “devastating” effect on her business’s revenue. Morton said she sent out an email to her customers stating that if every one of them bought one spool of thread, she could stay in business. Customers came out in droves to help keep the business afloat, she said, noting that people drove from New Hampshire to keep Quilts & Treasures open.

“I think quilting is still going pretty strong” as a hobby, Morton said. When she took over the business in 2005, there were about 1,000 people on her email list. The store now communicates with about 5,500 of its customers through email.

Morton has taken advantage of the large audience Quilts & Treasures has created to help people in need. “I’m a product of 4H. Giving back is a big part of [the organization],” Morton said. “I’ve always tried to help out where I could.”

When the war in Ukraine began in 2022, Quilts & Treasures sold quilting square kits with fabric featuring sunflowers and the colors of the Ukrainian flag. About 50 percent of the revenue from those sales was donated to Save the Children, an international humanitarian organization that was working on Ukrainian aid efforts. Quilts & Treasures has also run fundraisers for the American Red Cross, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and American troops serving abroad.

Once retired, Morton plans to visit family and work on sewing projects. With her newfound free time, she said with a laugh, “I’m going to do anything I want.”

That said, Morgan will also miss many things about Quilts & Treasures. The things she will miss the most is “the customers. I’ve met so many people who have helped me in hard times and who I’ve been able to help.” She said that she has created lasting friendships with customers.

“They went along with anything I came up with,” Morton said. Quilts & Treasures has run themed events ranging from the wedding of Great Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton to the reintroduction of Twinkies, and the other “silly things that brought people into the store,” Morton said. “I thank the community for supporting me, for letting us help them.

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