I went to Hamilton, MO last August. The town is exactly what I imagined a tiny Missouri town to be, complete with sweet, lazy breezes, cute old houses, and one main street. Except that the main street is almost wall-to-wall fabric stores. All part of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
I didn’t know about Hamilton, the Missouri Star Quilt Company (MSQC), or Jenny Doan from her YouTube fame. I read about MSQC in an issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.
The fact that there is a whole town out there full of quilts, quilters, and quilting gripped my imagination. What a magical and audacious idea.
I’m obviously not alone in my fascination. Covered in the news media from MSNBC to National Public Radio, MSQ has caught the attention of quilters and non-quilters alike across the nation. But there’s something extra special about MSQ for quilters.
There’s that particular Disneyland-like feeling of wonder at being immersed in a whole little world built just for you. There’s fabric everywhere you look: fabric that inspires, fabric that is just right for that one project you’re working on, fabric that your best friend would love. And there’s Jenny herself, brilliant, capable, and totally approachable quilting maven. But there’s something else too. Something undeniably legit about what’s going on there.
In Hamilton, the celebration of the art that so many women have loved for so long isn’t confined to just one time of year or tucked away in an off-the-beaten-path part of town. In Hamilton the art of quilting is celebrated every day, and business is booming.
Since I wasn’t there with other quilters or as part of an organized event, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first arrived. I found my way to the main store where I was welcomed by a woman who helped me check in on one of the many iPads set up for that purpose. Checking in entitled me to earn free charm bracelet charms and “Quilters Cash” at each of the 11 different quilt shops.
Of course I hit every store, each featuring a different type of fabric … batiks, holiday themed prints, novelty fabrics, baby fabrics, modern fabric, solids, civil war & reproduction prints, and florals. I was a quilter obsessed, surrounded by a seemingly endless palette of fabric-beauties for whatever quilty creation I could conjure.
I was totally impressed by the professionalism in every detail from the iPad check-in process to the excellent customer service and adorable feature displays in every store. Everything feels planned but not contrived, down to the last detail.
They’re doing everything right. And they’re winning.
For a more detailed description of each store and info about visiting check out the MSQC website.