From left, Warm N Cozy Quilting co-owners Danielle Cyvas and Debbie Chitty.
A mother-daughter business in Columbia, Ill., is celebrating its first anniversary, thanks to its owners’ hard work and the expertise they received from the Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center.
Warm N Cozy Quilting, located at 235 N. Main St. in Columbia, fills a unique niche in the world of quilting. Co-owners Debbie Chitty and her daughter, Danielle Cyvas, specialize in taking their customers’ works of art, in layers, and assembling them into one masterpiece courtesy of a 14-foot-long, long-arm quilting machine.
“We take the top, the batting, and the bottom, and put it all together,” said Cyvas. “A lot of quilters will make a quilt top on their sewing machine at home, but weaving all the layers together is too thick for a regular machine. Our long-arm is computerized and has robotics. I can set it, and it runs itself. It was a major investment for our business, but it was definitely worth it. Our customers love the end result.”
Chitty and Cyvas sought out the SBDC and Interim Director Jo Ann DiMaggio May for advice in August 2015 when they decided to form a business based upon what they loved to do and were preparing for a September 2015 opening.
DiMaggio May met with mother and daughter and guided them in how to structure their business plan in order to approach a bank for lending. “Jo Ann was extremely helpful,” Chitty said. “We plan to meet with her again in the near future and ask for her expertise as we consider a larger space.”
In addition to finishing customers’ quilt projects, Warm N Cozy Quilting offers a generous selection of fabric, particularly specializing in polka dots, including kids’ patterns, Christmas print fabric, flannels and batiks.
Chitty and Cyvas also teach quilting classes for three to five individuals at a time.
“We typically cater to women ages 55-to-70,” Chitty said. “But we do have artists who are younger and older than that. We welcome traveling quilters who schedule trips to visit quilting shops along their route.”
DiMaggio May said helping the Warm N Cozy Quilting owners has been rewarding. “Debbie and Danielle are truly passionate and love their craft,” she said. “They are quite savvy business owners, and I look forward to their ongoing success. I can’t wait to assist them in expanding their operation”.
Out of appreciation for the expertise they received from the Metro East SBDC at no cost, Chitty and Cyvas said it is their pleasure to refer others to the business counseling resource.
“Just a few weeks ago, a woman called our shop who is thinking of opening a hobby shop in town and wanted to know how we got started,” Chitty said. “We shared with her how beneficial it has been to work with the SBDC. Learning how to put numbers to paper and really think through each aspect of our small business has helped us immensely. I’d soundly recommend the SBDC’s services to any new or existing business.”
Warm N Cozy Quilting is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday night until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit warmncozyquilting.com.
The Metro East SBDC assists existing companies like Warm ‘n’ Cozy Quilting as well as new businesses headquartered in the nine-county Metro East region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. It is a no-cost service to the community supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
The SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the university at large. To learn how the SBDC can help small business, contact the Metro East SBDC at (618) 650-2929 or [email protected].
— From the Illinois Business Journal