In 2003 when I moved to Marietta,
Georgia, from Florida, I was thrilled to find out
that I was living just a couple of miles from a fabric
store! Oh joy unbounded!
Unfortunately, when I stopped at
the historic Marietta Mill building and knocked on
the door I found out that the fabric store which had
once been located there was now closed. Too bad, I
thought. What a fitting place for a fabric store...a
historic textile mill. Not to mention the delicious
location just blocks from historic Marietta town square.
Oh well, I thought, maybe this is the chance for me
to open the fabric store I always dreamed of . . .
When I got to know the town better,
I felt there was a real need for a good fabric store
in the area, so I began to talk to various people
about renting a small space. At one point, I even
took an option on an 800 square foot space. I had
visions of sewing peacefully along and stopping to
chat when the occasional customer wandered in.
Then God said "Hah!"
One day as I passed the Mill, I saw
the sign..."7,000 square feet for sale or lease."
Oh gosh, that cool old building has space available,
but of course I could never begin to afford it. Still...
I gathered up my courage and called
the sweetest realtor in Marietta, John Hunicutt, a
real southern gentleman. Maybe the space could be
subdivided? I asked. John arranged to show me the
building...and it was love at first sight. The lower
floor of the historic mill had exposed floor beams,
now painted black, and it seemed to go on forever.
Old pipes and giant circuit breakers and roller doors
spoke of the building's past as a mill. This was the
space I'd always dreamed of ...too bad I was way too
poor to afford it!
I babbled on to John about my dreams
of the ultimate quilt store.in a historic mill no
less. He told me about the history of the building,
built in 1946 with double thick walls in case it was
needed as a munitions storage area, and since used
by the Bentley family to house their textile company.
He agreed to plead my case with the Bentley brothers,
Drew and Bullet. I think that what swayed the brothers
was the fact that I love their building as much as
they do. In any case, after some agonizing weeks,
John was able to persuade them to make me a wonderful
deal for the space. Thanks to their kindness it was,
and is, a match made in heaven.
Many gallons of paint later, our
grand old lady is polished up and again receiving
visitors. The factory has long been relocated, although
the company offices are still on the upper floor.
When the store is quiet, I can hear my friends walking
around on the original creaky floor boards a sound
I find very comforting. In turn, the Bentleys and
the other employees of Marietta Drapery can't resist
visiting occasionally to see what is new and to rejoice
in the old lady's new look.
In addition to 6,000 bolts of fabric,
we sell the overruns of drapes and bedspreads produced
by the drapery company, at ridiculously low prices.
When things are slow, I bored my customers by pointing
out the unique brick ceiling, constructed with the
same technology as the London underground. The occasional
ghost drifts by, interested in all the changes, I
suppose, or wondering at our state-of-the-art long
arm quilting machine, so different from the primitive
mill machines of the past.
In recent months we have added Toys,
Gifts, Art, Rugs, Food, and many others. Not to mention
Handi Quilter machines and Custom long arm quilting