and when a quilt shop owner loves her town so much…
The town is Amherst in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The quilt shop is Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium.
The owner is Beth Munroe.
Beth, who’s Mrs. Pugsley? Well, here’s the story.
I’m a pharmacist and, in 2001, I bought the business known as Pugsley’s Drug Store in Amherst. Along with the business came the beautiful, historic building known as the Clock Tower. Pugsley’s Drug also sold gifts. To keep the giftware merchandise separate from the pharmacy, that portion of the business was known as Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium.
In 2012, I sold the pharmacy business but kept the building and Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium. We have many fine artisans in Amherst and a big Fiber Arts festival every October. But we did not have a quilt shop. I knew how to sew but I was not a quilter. I sought advice from many quilt makers asking them what they would like to see in a quilt shop. One in particular, a published quilt designer and Amherst resident, Karen Neary, was very helpful.
So, in 2013, Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium became a quilt shop. I kept the name because if anyone asked where the quilt shop was, nobody would know. But if they asked for Mrs. Pugsley’s, everyone knew where that was. Mrs. Pugsley’s was also known as bright and colorful. I kept the purple and orange colors in the logo because they are the colors of the magnificent sunsets we have over the Tantramar Marsh.
In 2016, Mrs. Pugley’s participated in Row by Row Experience for the first time. I asked Karen Neary to help design our row. The theme in 2016 was “Home Sweet Home” so we chose to highlight our clock tower in our row. It was the home of Mrs. Pugsley’s and it was historically significant to Amherst. The row was very popular and we were glad we made the business decision to be part of Row by Row.
That fall, we began planning how Mrs. Pugsley’s would help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. As a nation, we were turning 150 years old, a sesquicentennial, on July 1, 2017. I heard about the Canada 150 commemorative tulips and checked with the Town of Amherst to see if they had a spot for them in Victoria Square. They did! They also offered to match our donation with an equal number of tulips and the best part— they planted them!
From Beth’s Facebook post: “These special tulips are white with a red flame (or splash of red) on the outside that looks like a maple leaf. The town posted about them coming up around the band shell! Remember, they are for all of us! Next time you are in, stretch your legs at Victoria Square and see how the ‘show’ is progressing.”
In January 2017, we started planning our “On The Go” themed row. I asked Karen if she would design our row again. We both agreed it had to reflect our Canada 150 celebrations. Karen did an amazing design and we are so fortunate. Our row is titled “Canada On the Go.”
Read more about how Karen created the row and the techniques she used on her blog here.
Karen’s design and workmanship were artistically stunning. I thought everybody should have a chance to enjoy our row, not just quilters. So I showed it to our town council. We have a town motto: Live. Work. Play. The designer, Karen, lives in Amherst, we all work here, and quilting is our play. I told them about Row by Row Experience, how good it was for tourism, and how the whole town would benefit. The Council liked it, embraced the Row by Row travel concept, and arranged to have our row printed on lamp post banners. They had already ordered traditional Canada Day banners but liked the row so much they ordered new ones. So now, every other lamp post banner is a row banner. They will remain hanging through mid October.
I’m so glad I live in “a community that embraces art. It has a certain vibe that you can feel.”
Also from one of Beth’s Facebook posts: “It’s important to Mrs P’s that we celebrate and enjoy living in our town. 2017 is a special year in Canada’s history and we need to celebrate that too! Live. Work. Play. Enjoy your community! We enjoy being part of yours!”
Thank you so much, Beth, for sharing your story with us. Karen called the stipple quilting she did on your row “champagne bubbles.” Very appropriate. Let’s all raise a toast to Beth Munroe, Mrs. Pugsley’s, Karen Neary, and Canada 150. Bravo!
Note: Beth’s wonderful story was retold by Jeannette Kitlan. Any errors in the retelling belong to Jeannette. We welcome corrections.
Find Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium contact information on their website here.
Find Karen Neary’s contact information here.
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Correction update 7/5/2017: Pugsley’s Drug Store was across the street from the Clock Tower building and operated continuously from 1843 to 2012. When Beth sold the pharmacy business in 2012 she acquired the Clock Tower building.