WICHITA — For every story of a business closing lately there seems to be one of a business expanding.
The latest is A-1 Singer Pfaff Sewing Center in the Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver.
“We’re going to more than double our size,” owner Dan Beltz says.
He’s had the store since 1992.
“Believe it or not, we only had 800 square feet before,” Beltz says.
He’s adding another 1,100 square feet by knocking out a wall and expanding into the former Prairie Quilts space.
Beltz’s story isn’t typical for his industry.
“Nationwide, we’re losing a lot of sewing machine dealers. They’re just not making it. Even here in town some of them are hurting.”
His business is “doing extremely well,” though.
“We’re taking awfully good care of our customers,” Beltz says.
The service side of his business, which has four employees repairing equipment, is doing especially well.
Beltz says people send sewing machines for repair from as far away as overseas.
The popularity of sewing goes in cycles, he says.
“It kind of goes every other generation.”
Traditional sewing isn’t what’s driving his business, though.
“It’s not (people) making clothes that’s saving us,” Beltz says. “It’s not the average . . . lady coming in off the street wanting to start sewing for her kids.”
He says it’s quilters and embroiderers who are driving sales, including people who are starting home-based businesses by buying embroidery machines.
“They pay for them pretty quick,” he says. “There’s a big business out there in that.”
Beltz, who has been in the business for 42 years, is appreciative of his customers.
“We’ve just got to thank the people. They’ve taken care of us.”
He says he’s old enough to retire but has no plans to.
“I just signed a big, long lease again. We plan on being around.”