Debra Thwaite, owner and operator of Rome Quilt Repair & Design,answers the questions for today’s Small Business Snapshot.
What is the primary purpose of your business? Rome Quilt Repair is a full service quilt company specializing in long arm quilting, quilt repair, quilt restoration and specialty design creations.
What is your business background? I have a Bachelor of Arts from Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I began my management career with Red Lobster in North Carolina and was transferred to Rome in the mid 1980s. I then served as administrator of law firms in Rome and Atlanta for 16 years. Most recently, I served as business manager at Mercy Care Rome for 13 years.
Why did you start (or purchase) this particular business? After leaving Mercy Care in the fall of 2015, I was looking for other opportunities in Rome and surrounding areas where I could utilize my artistic talents. An opportunity arose when I learned that there was the need for someone to perform quilt repairs and quilt restoration services. I incorporated my business at the end of 2015 and approximately six months later, I had another opportunity arise to provide all other types of quilting service to Rome and surrounding areas.
What makes your business unique? Rome Quilt Repair is unique as it does not operate out of a brick and mortar store. I operate out of a private studio and meet with my customers at several different sites in Rome. I provide free pickup and delivery services for my customers within a 65 mile radius and also work with customers outside that area receiving business by FedEx, UPS and USPS. Another unique aspect of the business is that I can provide quilting services to customers from start to finish or anywhere in between.
What do you enjoy most about your chosen profession? The freedom to manage my own business, be my own boss and to provide my customers with services appropriate for their quilting needs.
What has been the biggest or most interesting challenge to overcome as a small business owner? As the owner of a business where I am the only worker and do not have a brick and mortar store, marketing is a pressing need. It is challenging to set a schedule that includes marketing in Rome and surrounding areas while still completing quilting services for customers. In other words, if I don't work, I don't get paid. But, if I don't market, then I don't have any customers.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? I grew up around sewing and have been creating things since I was probably 5 years old. I am a self-taught quilter and provide free motion quilting services without the use of computer added designs. I am a member of the Kiwanis Club of Rome, the Rome/Floyd County Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer long arm quilter and member of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Business starts to increase dramatically this time of year and I am currently booking for the upcoming holidays. I will have a booth at the 2018 Business Expo Nov. 1-2.
Business name: Rome Quilt Repair & Design, LLC
Owner: Debra Thwaite
Business age: 3 years
Business location: Private studio
Number of employees: 1