by Mark Bach 

After a stressful career as a Pediatric ICU nurse, Kathy Reynolds was ready for a change. When her favorite quilt shop closed down and she found no nearby viable options, she decided to open her own new shop. Now fifteen amazing years later, her shop, A Quilter’s Oasis, is celebrating this milestone with its 15th Birthday Celebration. Located in Mesa, A Quilter’s Oasis expanded from 1600 square feet to 3600 square feet six years ago. The extra space allows for a bigger classroom area and room for the shop’s 4,000 bolts of fabric. Kathy admits to an eclectic selection of fabric, from 1930s to modern. But she’ll readily acknowledge that her largest collection is focused on batiks. That classroom space gets plenty of use with classes held nearly every day during the peak winter season. Plus the shop is also home to six clubs, a Mystery Quilt each quarter and a Block of the Month Club. Kathy recognizes that her shop is in the center of a winter visitor Mecca with quilters flocking to her “oasis.” Initially the shopping center that was being developed had no room for her shop. But fate intervened and, when a spot initially slated for a restaurant with great parking became available, she quickly took it over. She has learned a lot from fellow Maricopa County quilt shop owners and vendors. As she says, she started the shop “on a wing and a prayer” and it seemed that, whenever she needed it, assistance arrived. Vendors offered advice and customers became friends at this “oasis” in the desert. Kathy listens to all her customers to find out what they need and want and she, in turn, is ready to offer advice and suggestions to them. Customers have also become the “pool” for employees since all her workers were initially valued patrons of the shop and now are valued helpers. For the future, Kathy hopes to do more teaching as she helps her customers focus on quilting techniques so they increase their creativity and expand their options and styles. The anniversary sale will be on February 15th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and feature refreshments plus special pricing and door prize tickets issued with each purchase. The tickets will be used to pick winners for various prizes and gift certificates. Plus Kathy insists on having cake to mark the anniversary. In a time when many local, independent quilt shops are struggling, it is nice to see a shop and the owner succeed!