Q: Can you tell me about your business, Tony’s Sewing Machines?

A: We’ve been in business now six years, majoring in sewing machine sales, service and repair. Just recently, for the past two months, we’ve got into doing vacuums also, sales service and repair. 

Q: Can you tell me more about the vacuum element of your business?

A: With the economy the way it is, portions of our business did slow down, more on the commercial end of it. We had to figure out a different way to bring business into the shop. Working with vacuums has been something I’ve always wanted to do, so it was a good time to do that. We’ve got Miele vacuums in stock, but will service or repair any brand.

Q: How did you get started in the sewing machine industry?

A: I started in the business 22 years ago. I moved to San Antonio, Texas, where my father was working for the largest curtain manufacturer, producing 90 percent of curtains for JCPenny and Sears. There was a position open and he asked me if I would be interested. All I could remember about sewing machines at the time was what I learned in home economics. But once I got involved with the industrial stuff, the mechanics of a sewing machine were interesting to me. 

Q: Aside from sewing machines, and now vacuums, what else do you have on hand?

A: We have about 500 bolts of quilting fabric (that range from $3.99 to $6.99 a yard). We also offer embroidery thread, sewing thread, quilting thread and pretty much every notion you probably could think of for your sewing needs. Books and patterns and classes, too. 

Q: Can you tell me more about the classes?

A: The classes are on a wide range. We have an embroidery club that meets once a month. We have all types of different quilting classes, from the novice to the experienced. Classes change every month. 

Q: What do you have in store for classes during September?

A: I know we have an open sewing program on Wednesday nights. There is an instructor there that will help with projects, usually unfinished projects, to give you that incentive to finish them up. There will be more quilting classes going on. The Civil War quilt is our “Block of the Month.” Basically, every month you come in and you purchase a kit. It’s one block of that quilt. Typically it will go for 12 months to give you the whole quilt once you’re done. 

Q: So, for the serious crafter, what type of services do you offer?

A: For the serious crafters, of course, we have the top of the line sewing machines out there that the serious quilters and crafters want, whether it’s Janome or Brother. 

Q: And for the novice sewer or quilter?

A: If you purchase a machine from us, we’re going to teach you how to run your machine. We offer free lessons with your machine for as long as you own it. There hasn’t been anybody we haven’t been able to teach how to use a sewing machine yet. 

Q: And you were at Sanford High School making some repairs, right? Do you typically make “house calls?”

A: Just for schools. With as many makes and models as there are today, it’s a lot easier for us to do it in the shop and keep the prices down. We are definitely the lowest price repair shop out there. That’s one of my main things, keep the prices down and let people continue to get their machines serviced. Machine sales have dropped off, but the repair end has probably tripled. 

Q: Why should people choose to buy a sewing machine from you, or stop in for any other sewing related item?

A: Basically, I think what separates us from everybody else, we’re very approachable and down to earth. We treat everybody the same, whether they come in and buy a $2 pack of needles or spend $8,000 on a sewing machine. I pride myself on doing business the old-fashioned way. It’s customer service first. (Customers) are my best advertising.

Q: What are your hours if someone wants to stop in?

A: We are there Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, we’re closed. The Wednesday classes at night start at 6 p.m. and go to 8:30 or 9 p.m.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]