Jan. 2, 2019
Six years ago, Carole Woolfrey-Harris purchased Dueck’s Sewing Centre. With a passion for sewing and the desire to offer more products and services, she expanded Dueck’s Sewing Centre from 700 square feet into a 2,800 square foot location in Medicine Hat’s Southwest Industrial district.
The extra floor space accommodates a new showroom, an inventory of long-arm and mid-arm quilting machines, basic sewing machines, a repair shop, plenty of space for workshops and quiltings groups, and room for further expansion into embroidery.
What seems like a quaint hobby is in fact big business, which is no surprise to Woolfrey-Harris. Quilting is nearly a $4 billion industry in the United States alone. While the largest spenders in this industry are typically affluent women aged 65 years and older, quilters under 45 years old represent the fastest-growing segment.
Capitalizing on this large and growing segment was Woolfrey-Harris’ motivation to expand. “Part of the expansion is diversifying into the sewing workshops and quilting groups,” she says. “We now have space in the shop to make some amazing projects and repair machines locally.”
“If you want to start a new project, like a quilt, you’re not going to want to wait two weeks for delivery,” says Woolfrey-Harris, who is also a sewing enthusiast. “That’s why we keep sewing machines in stock.”
Woolfrey-Harris and her team of six staff see hobbyists from all corners of Southeast Alberta and Southwest Saskatchewan. Medicine Hat serves a catchment area of over 140,000 people, who make the journey to the city for its many retailers and services, including Dueck’s Sewing Centre.
Medicine Hat is seeing new and expanding retailers like Dueck’s offering more selection and services. The Medicine Hat Mall is undergoing a $115 million renovation, adding several new retailers and updating the interior. The former Sears bay is under renovation, with three new retailers confirmed for the space. Meanwhile, Strachan Corner is undergoing a commercial construction boom anchored by Save-On Foods, two new hotels, and South Country Co-op. In the city’s North, Triply Flying J recently opened a new 12 acre location.
After six years, Woolfrey-Harris and the team at Dueck’s Sewing Centre continue to serve a large and growing industry from Medicine Hat.