By: Emma Sue Sims
When she came to Virginia in 1974, Rachel was welcomed into a community of quilters. After always dreaming of owning her own fabric shop and after years of working for someone else, Rachel decided, in 1997, to open up Rachel’s Quilt Patch on 40 Middlebrook Avenue. When you walk into the store it isn’t your everyday fabric shop. The quality customer service is one you can’t find anywhere else.
While shopping at Rachel’s Quilt Patch you aren’t just getting fabric or a notion; you get the experienced help from three generations of family, you get quality products, and you get all of your time’s worth. Rather than teaching only large and scheduled classes, Rachel offers smaller sized classes readily available at your recommended time. If you want help they are there to help and if not then they want to work to your comfort. Whether you are looking to learn the art of hand crafting or are a top-notch artisan looking for some assistance, there is a class for you.
In addition to the fabric and notions you would expect to find at a quilt shop, there are some surprises in store for you at Rachel’s Quilt Patch. For one, you may see Sweet Blue, the cat, peering around the corner of one of their many shelves of merchandise. Another personal favorite is their rare collection of locally made soaps. The soaps range in scents from pumpkin spice to the scents of France and London and vary in shape from square to rabbit to cat. You may even be lucky enough to spot one of the store’s specialty items such as the Sears Hill mugs or some pins left from Bridge Day 2015.
Being located next to the Sears Hill Bridge, the once rotten and torn down bridge that the community raised funds for and rebuilt three years ago, Rachel’s Quilt Patch is greatly involved in all Bridge Day festivities. One way they contribute to the celebration is by making the white bunting seen all over the wharf area and draped over the bridge this year during the bridge day celebration. The store has now been at its current location for all of it’s eighteen years, something that Rachel is very proud of.
Recently, Rachel’s Quilt patch is now one of few stores that offers MicroSealQ. This product is a quilt protectant that is sprayed onto a quilt to protect it from fading, discoloration, and deterioration. MicroSealQ is safer for the quilt and different than any other protectants because it sinks into the fibers and fills any gaps imitating the protection of the natural, original fiber. In order to be able to offer such a great product for local quilters many donations were given. The names of those who donated can be found on their website.
One of six siblings, each an entrepreneur of their own business — including one who has continued the family line — Rachel’s experience in both her practice and her technique is precise. As Rachel and her daughter, Kay, put it- they have “chutzpah,” Yiddish for stick-to-it and temerity. Those at Rachel’s Quilt Patch are dedicated to what they do and chutzpah, what they believe in. “We still have days where we wonder how we are going to make it through this week or this month but with the kind of background where our whole family is entrepreneurs it makes us a little bit stubborn.” With a strong dedication to their work and their community mixed with their focus and background, Rachel’s Quilt Patch is one piece of downtown Staunton you shouldn’t go without visiting. A sense of family, hope, and devotion are what pour over you as you open the front door to Rachel’s Quilt Patch.