Vt. fabric stores look to break the winter blues - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. fabric stores look to break the winter blues

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The annual event called the Vermont Shop Hop attracts quilters from near and far.

The store may be called Country Treasures, but really, it's all about quilts and this business in Chester is a little busier than usual.

"I just love all the different idea when you go into the different shops. Everyone one of them is different," said Erin Heffernan from Bristol, Vt.

Country Treasures is one of a dozen fabric stores taking part in the Vermont Shop Hop. It's an event for like-minded sewers looking to break the winter blues.

"It's been a long winter. It is great to get out and get some new fabric and get moving on projects," said Mary Bradley from Braintree, Vt.

Everyone stopping in gets a passport stamp showing they've arrived and a gift bag. Not to mention access to boutique fabric, designed specifically for the event, and only available to those taking part.

"We have been really busy. Really busy. I usually get 400 to 500 people who come in during the whole 10 days of the Shop Hop," said Suzanne Ashe from County Treasures.

This is the ninth annual Vermont Shop Hop which includes 12 stores in southern Vermont, Chittenden County and the Northeast Kingdom. People from all over are taking part including quilters from north of the border.

"This is my third year," said June Britt from Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Britt traveled to Quilt-a-way Fabrics in Westminster, all the way from Sherbrooke. She plans to get stamps at all 12 stores which will also enter her into in a grand prize drawing. Though, she seems more interested in the designs.

"It is a wonderful way to bring us all together and despite the fact that they may similar fabrics, they all have a different tone to them," said Britt.

But this time of year, with the ski season winding down and mud season fast approaching, business isn't exactly booming. That's what inspired the Shop Hop.

"We can always use help with additional sales after the first of the year," said Carol Coski from Quilt-a-way Fabrics.

And by collaborating across the state, the participating stores are drawing shoppers that might not otherwise show up.

"We tend to go to the ones you know that are close to us or the ones that we are more familiar with, but to go to all 12 just gets you out into the rest of the state," said Bradley.

"I've gone all over the country visiting quilt shops and there is never one exactly like the other," said Ashe.

It's a treasure inside every store that has shoppers hopping from one to the next. The Shop Hop runs through March 30. You can find directions to the 12 stores by clicking here.

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