'THREAD CAPITAL OF WISCONSIN'
Frank's Sewing Center opens in new location

By KATHERINE MICHALETS - Freeman Staff

June 20, 2015

Manager Wendy Rieves, left, and owner Brad Kleman stand next to a display of vintage sewing machines at Frank’s Sewing Center. 
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Words of amazement spilled from Bonnie Camp’s mouth as she entered Frank’s Sewing Center’s new location for the first time Friday.

She described the larger space in the Fox Run Shopping Center on the western side of the city as “wonderful.”

“I know they’ve worked very hard to put it together,” Camp, of the Town of Waukesha, said. She had shopped for many years at Frank’s Sewing Center’s location in downtown Waukesha.

The 42-year-old business opened in its 5,000-square-foot strip mall space Monday and so far things are going really well, according to owner Brad Kleman.

It was previously in a 4,300-square-foot store on Main Street. Frank’s Sewing Center was started by Kleman’s grandfather, Frank Kruchowski. Kleman took over in 1994.

A lot of thought and time were put into finding a new location for Frank’s Sewing Center, Kleman said. What he found in the Fox Run Shopping Center was adequate parking and strong foot traffic.

“The right location is key,” Kleman said. “This side of town is really taking off.”

Racks of thread in a rainbow of colors.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Frank’s Sewing Center is now open seven days per week and has extended hours, which has required the hiring of three more staff members for a total of six.

“This store is really customer built,” Kleman said, explaining that he listened to what customers wanted and stocked the store with it.

New items include iron quilt hangers, notions, pre-cut fabric more thread — so much thread that Frank’s Sewing Center refers to itself as the “Thread Capital of Wisconsin” on its Facebook page. Sewing machines are nicely displayed in the center of the store and the business’s collection of antique sewing machines also remains on display.

Store manager Wendy Rieves said staff wants to work with customers to help them find what they need.

“When they come in to look at machines, we ask a lot of questions and then present them with various machine options that would meet their needs. When they purchase a machine, we include lessons on that machine for as long as they own the machine,” Rieves said.

Frank’s Sewing Center has a classroom and strives to offer daily events in the fall, although fewer are held in the summer.

One upcoming class on July 22 and Aug. 5 instructs people on how to make a quilt out of T-shirts. Another class is about beginning machine embroidery.

“We also feel strongly about offering classes at our store,” Rieves said. “We built a beautiful, bright classroom. The classes are open to anyone with any brand sewing machine.”

She said people learn better from working with others in a classroom setting than by watching a video.

Frank’s Sewing Center still services old and newer sewing machine models.

So far Kleman said he has gotten a lot of feedback from customers, including regulars like Camp.

“A lot of them are glad that we are going to be open more hours that are accessible to them and that the location is accessible,” he said.

A grand opening celebration will be held the weekend of July 25 and 26.
 

At a glance

What: Frank's Sewing Center
Where: 2140 W. St. Paul Ave., Suite L, Waukesha
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Info: www.frankssewingcenter.com, on Facebook or 262-547-77
 

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