Featured Shop: The Cotton Patch Quilt Shop

“Bright and beachy” is how Laura Flynn describes The Cotton Patch, the University Park, Florida, shop she co-owns with with husband Tim. And it’s true that the shop reflects its coastal location, enticing both locals and visitors to the area with a selection of colorful, cheerful fabrics. But that description omits another important “B” word: bassets.img_1688 Sweet and sociable basset hounds Maggie, Lulu, and Freddie are the subject of Cotton Patch social media updates, and the object of customers’ affections. And just this week they were joined by a new shop dog: an eight-month-old rescue, who was named Stanley when adopted from his foster home—(when Laura and I talked she still hadn’t decided if the name would stick).

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Laura (holding Stanley) and Tim (with Freddie) and in front, six-year-old sisters Maggie and Lulu

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Samples for the All in a Row class and book

As enticing as it is to be greeted by a pack of pups is, the fabric selection and outstanding customer service bring quilters back to the Cotton Patch again and again, and the Cotton Patch was a Quilt Sampler Featured Shop in 2014. Its location in temperate Florida means that in addition to locals, lots of visitors stop by. That’s why it’s not surprising that while batiks and brights are popular, Laura has added a section of wool fabrics, too. “Many of our customers travel frequently and appreciate portable projects,” says Laura. “There’s a big interest in handwork like wool pincushions, embroidery, English paper piecing, and appliqué, too.”

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The “Florida section” features a seahorse quilt and Stacy Iest Hsu’s Coral Queen of the Sea, and Fish Tales placemats

Moda fabrics are popular in the shop, particularly bright lines like those by Me and My Sister and Zen Chic. Customers love Moda batiks and Grunges and Stacey Iest Hsu’s Coral Queen of the Sea was a special hit. Each Cotton Patch staff member got a panel of the doll ahead of time and made their own version, then customers could vote on their favorites. Events like this are examples of going the extra mile for customers, and making a visit to the Cotton Patch memorable. Laura and Tim left jobs in the hospitality industry to open the shop and recognize the importance of making quilters feel welcome. “We treat everyone as a guest,” says Laura. “We know they have choices and we want them to be glad they came and to return.” The shop was a Quilt Sampler Featured Shop in 2014.img_1677-2

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The shop’s current location is its third since opening in 2003. The first shop was 1,000 square feet and only four students could fit into its classroom, so Laura dubbed herself “the ironing fairy,” doing pressing for students since there wasn’t much room for them to move about. The second shop was a little large for their needs, but their current location feels just right. “We’re in a beautiful building with windows on three sides,” says Laura. “This is it. We’re never moving again!” She notes that Amy Matheny, who with her husband Tom serves as the shop’s Moda rep, came in and helped paint when the shop moved. “They’re really super people, and whatever I need, if they can make it happen, they do,” says Laura.

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Kate Spain batiks and Moda merit badges. Note the bright colors on the walls!

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This three seahorse quilt was made from Coral Queen of the Sea precuts.

With their background in hospitality, Laura and Tim are naturals at planning special events. Two favorites happen annually—Fat Quarter Frenzy on New Year’s Day and Stuff Your Sewing Basket, where Laura debuts new tools and notions daily and offers them to customers at discounted prices, and a perennial favorite is PMS (Pizza, Munchies, and Sewing). Customers gather to make pillowcases as part of American Patchwork and Quilting’s One Million Pillowcase Challenge,which they donate to Ryan’s Case for Smiles and recently made heart blocks for a quilt for Pulse.Laura is also very proud of having contributed a block to the Splendid Sampler.

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Laura started thinking about opening a quilt shop not long after Sept. 11, 2001. Her mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s around the same time and Laura, who, describes herself as “consumed” by quilting and fabric thought “Life isn’t forever.” She knew she had a head for business and wanted to teach and share her love of quilting. Spending every day with her dogs and Tim, surrounded by creative individuals, is everything she’d hoped for. “We have a great staff and great customers who come through the doors,” she says. “I love getting to see people create, especially when they go a little bit outside the box. If we play a part in that by giving them inspiration or skills, that’s a pretty good thing.”

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22 comments on “Featured Shop: The Cotton Patch Quilt Shop

  1. modalissa says:

    Congratulations on your new puppy! Your shop is gorgeous. I will have to visit on my next trip to Florida.

  2. Toni Anne Potter says:

    I wish I lived near Florida, I’d visit everyday. Fabric “MODA fabric” and Bassett hounds, that’s my kind of heaven. Congratulations on adopting Stanley and also Freddie, Maggie and Lulu you make a lovely family.

  3. abeier71 says:

    Your Basset Hounds are so cute. The puppy is adorable. I’ve been in your shop when visiting Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. It’s a beautiful shop.

  4. Marge Dominic says:

    Just love the looks of your shop BRIGHT AND LIGHT. Love it! Congratulation on your new baby. Great, great. Hope to visit all next time I am in Florida.

  5. Betty Liehr says:

    I always look forward to the Thursday picture and update on the bassets and only wish I lived nearby so I could visit and BUY

  6. Karen Seitz says:

    Bassets! The pups and everything else I see in these photos make me want to visit soon!

  7. Ducki says:

    I love your store! You are so special, and they are so very lucky to have you and your store in their area. Ducki

  8. What a pretty, bright shop. I love both seahorse patterns. My daughter, who died of pancreatic cancer three years ago in November, LOVED seahorses. I am calling for the pattern!

  9. I have been shopping at Cotton Patch since they were in that cute white bldg near SRQ!!! Can’t say enough about the kindness and expertise of Laura, Tim and the rest of the gang! They help you from start to finish, and the pups just add to the slice of heaven called The Cotton Patch!

  10. Heather Phillips says:

    Hi Tim, Laura, Maggie, Lulu, Freddie and newby Stanley. looks like I will need a bigger treat bag. Congrats on being featured with Moda. This is a shop where the staff and owners make you feel welcome and at home and where you can meet friends from home.

  11. Sue J. says:

    Love the new puppy! I think he looks like a Stanley!

  12. Marty says:

    I live in Tampa, but every time I go down to Sarasota I have to stop in and have a look. I love colorful shops, and this one tops it off. So if you love to shop in a bright colorful atmosphere then be sure to shop at this store
    Marty

  13. Marlyn says:

    Laura, you have the best quilt shop ever along with the nicest staff. It is always uplifting to step inside the shop and see all the wonderful fabric and samples. Oh, can’t forget those adorable fur babies.

  14. Judy Rienow says:

    Laura was thrilled to see you added another rescue to your family. Hope Jerry and I can come and see you again in the future.

Comments are closed.