This is a reprint of Jack Kauffman’s words to Row by Row in 2013:
“In our travels during the two months of this Shop Hop we have been introduced to new shops and new locales and enjoyed the individual and unique characteristics of both. One of the shops we visited also provided a packet of information about the area in addition to their pattern. We have made plans to return there later this year. Thank you for coordinating this year’s event. We are eagerly looking forward to the announcement of next year’s participating PA and NY shops to begin planning our 2014 trips.”
2013–That’s the year Pennsylvania joined Row by Row as a test state. Janet Lutz, Row by Row’s creator, had already started it in New York state two years earlier with great success. Would it work with quilt shops in other states? Pennsylvania seemed like a good place to try it out. So the experiment began.
Jeannette Kitlan, owner of Endless Mountains Quiltworks, in northeastern PA agreed to pitch the summertime, shop-hop-like event to other PA quilt shops citing NY’s success. Sixty PA shop owners liked the idea.
By summer’s end, thousands of PA quilt lovers, fabric lovers, and sewing enthusiasts did too! The experiment was a success!
The theme that year was “Fairs and Festivals.” Jeannette’s shop sponsored an outdoor quilt show every October called “Airing of the Quilts.” Hundreds of quilts were hung along the streets and storefronts of the Victorian era town. She used this as inspiration for her shop’s row. Can you “see” the quilts hanging on fences, the branches of the elm trees lining the street, and the Endless Mountains in the distance? Many Row by Row fans returned to enjoy “Airing” that year.
FabricPlates™ were also part of the 2013 experiment. Debra Gabel of Zebra Patterns already had them in her portfolio of products. But adding them as customized collectibles for rowers was brand new. Of course, their popularity soared! “Airing” was a natural choice to use for the Endless Mountains’ FabricPlate.™
Thanks to thousands of wonderful folks like Jack Kauffman and his wife who took the time to travel to shops all over NY and PA in 2013– even this happy chap who came all the way from Canada to pick up a row for his wife–we now have over 100,000 fans, all 50 states, and nine Canadian provinces participating.
Jack’s testimonial and similar experiences of all those who participated in Row by Row that summer helped shape the event we now enjoy. Following the success of 2013’s test market experiment in PA, the word “experience” was officially added to the Row by Row name. It’s not just a shop hop. It’s a whole lot more. It’s an experience!