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Town and Country Quilt Shop's success with SCORE

Town and Country Quilt Shop, Tara Thom

Title / Role: Owner
Location: Albion, New York
Formed in: 2003
What do you do?

Town and Country Quilt Shop is an expanding shop in the historic district of Albion, NY.  I have been offering long arm quilting services since 2003.  In 2017, the shop moved to the Village of Albion to create a space for makers to gather and offer fabric and notions to the quilting community.

What inspired you to start your business?

As a new mother in 2003, I wanted to work from home and the quilt shop I was working with at the time wouldn't allow that option, so I decided to go on my own.

What's special about your business?

Our mission is to create a warm, inviting environment where makers can feel at home, learn new skills, and find the tools they need to make quilts and other sewn items. Our focus is on quality workmanship in quilting, providing an opportunity for fellowship and friendship while working creatively together, and sharing our love of quilt-making with others.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

I enjoy working for myself and have been doing it for so long; I'm grateful. Each time I expand or move my shop, it can be quite stressful, but I'm grateful for my mentor, Jon Costello, who continually gives me the confidence and advice I need to move forward. Hiring new employees, replacing old point-of-sale systems, etc., can be tedious and stressful, but I know it's worth it when I won't have to work 50-60 hour weeks anymore.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

I was working with another small business program at the time, and although things were going well, I felt like it was more advice than mentorship. Then, I met Jon through my church, and we got to talking. There was one moment when I asked him a question and immediately knew that I needed a new mentor, and that mentor was Jon.

How SCORE helped.

Jon has been instrumental in the growth of my business. I've always been a strong quilter but not always confident in building a real business out of it. With Jon's help, I've been able to expand to a retail space, hire my first employee, and make tough decisions based on "the numbers" now that I know what the numbers are. Thanks to Jon, I have a bird's eye view of my business.

What's great about my mentor?

Jon takes additional time outside of our mentoring sessions to review my business and truly understand it. It's a very specific business, and as an owner in this industry, it can be lonely. Jon helps me feel less lonely and is a great sounding board for my thoughts and ideas.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

I would recommend them to find a true mentor! Someone who takes the time to get to know their business and help them gain confidence in their decision-making.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

I've learned that you need to know your numbers to make things work as a business owner. Especially when you're working with costly equipment to do what we do, every decision needs to be made carefully.

Additional media
My mentors
Jon L Costello

Printing Company Executive, Commercial Bank Officer, Self Employed Income Tax Practice;

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130 S Elmwood Ave,
Buffalo, NY 14202

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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