Monday, March 21, 2016

Endings & Beginnings…further reflections on ending classes and what's next!

Sandra Betzina, teaching one of our early classes downstairs!
Last month, I announced that we are no longer going to be offering a full program of classes upstairs for sewing and quilting after June 30, 2016 (read the post here). This began an in-depth conversation with our tribe of sewing instructors, students, fabric lovers and other teaching studios in the greater Bay Area.

Although it has been tough for us to hear from many students about their sadness, shock and disappointment, we understand that this feedback stems from how much value they have received and the amazing opportunity that these classes have provided.  We appreciate all that we’ve heard from lifelong students, as well as others just gearing up to jump in.

Here are some words from our community:

- I am glad you are growing and will be continuing to offer quality fabrics. That is very heartening! I cannot wait to see what you will offer upstairs!

- Thank you for the wonderful service you provide to the whole area. You fill a very important need, and I for one really appreciate that you are here and staying!

- Thank you so much for being there.

- Change is hard for many of us. Thanks for taking a step in a new direction. Discounted designer goods will add a fabric opportunity for us that we don't currently have in the East Bay. I'm excited to see what you will be offering.

- The classes I've taken there were wonderful- sad to see them go, but excited to see what you do next! And an extra yay for discounted designer fabrics!

- Good luck in your next upstairs venture.

- Best of luck with your new business plan!

- I completely understand, and am grateful for the opportunity to take a few more classes over the next few months! I'm glad you'll find more balance and I'm confident that you're doing what's right for the store. 

- I'm happily registered in 6 classes! I had hoped to work my way through all your classes over the next couple years, but I'm glad I could squeeze in a few before they go away. Thanks!

- I am a businesswoman so I thoroughly respect your decision and I adore your store.  So I bless you with all my heart, despite feeling at a loss for what do I do next. I can only imagine how tough the business is with competition of online and the big box stores like Joann’s.  I hope this move strengthens your bottom line and makes your responsibilities less stressful.  I hope to be your good customer for a long time!

During the last 20 years, we have taught many thousands of students to sew, stretching across all generations.  It has been an inspiration to see you all come through our doors and leave with that first completed project. Providing these classes has been one of Stonemountain’s substantial contributions to our sewing community and we are so grateful for the time and impact we’ve had. On a personal level, the time I have dedicated to providing these classes has been an amazing service project and a gift from my heart and passion. 

To be very clear, I came to this decision based on looking at ALL current economic realities, long-term trends heading our way, the vast amount of time it takes to schedule, produce and administrate the classes, and the great benefits of selling fabric in the upstairs bargain room. 

If we want to survive as a truly independent, family-owned, brick-and-mortar fabric store, we have to be realistic. We can no longer afford to have what has basically been a non-profit school within our store. After 20 years, we are stepping down and supporting others in our community to take over the important step of teaching sewing and quilting.  We believe that in the long run, this decision will allow our community of sewists to stay strong and grow. We are dedicated to being a community center for quality and affordable fabrics - one of the last remaining independent fabric stores in the country!

After a great deal of inner thought, I have come to realize that ending the sewing classes is not only best for Stonemountain & Daughter but it is also in harmony with the highest intent for my own personal life. 

Looking forward, I am excited about working with all the other sewing schools in the greater Bay Area. I have already been meeting with many of them personally to see how we can work together. Some of our own instructors have already set up classes for you to go to.

One of our awesome instructors, Terry McClintock (right)
We are currently gathering information of all the various teachers and schools. We hope to post these on our website and have a handout available in our store as things for summer and fall come together. There really is nothing else out there like what we have been doing, so it may take time for others to step up and fill this vital need in our community. It is our intent to refer customers/students to local teachers!

As we wrap up our stellar program, our classes are filling up quickly. Please visit our class catalog to see where you can jump in and take one of our last amazing classes at Stonemountain! Thank you all for supporting our classes and instructors and helping Stonemountain Classes be one of the most successful sewing schools in any fabric store in the country. 

Our commitment to education and inspiration is still strong and I look forward to working closely with my team to find innovative ways to engage with our community of sewists around the world! There are many ideas coming forth now for us to get excited about! (sew-alongs, in-store demonstrations, youtube channel, more content developed in our blogs and newsletters)

It is my deepest hope that our student base will continue to shop with us and support our family run community sanctuary for the feminine arts.

We hope you can join us in our Decade’s Everyday Three’s a Charm Jacket Sew Along this month. Click over to the Stonemountain Blog for more info!

with love and hope and a lifetime of dedication,


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and plans. When my husband and I travel, I look for and often visit independent fabric stores (I usually skip those that have only quilting fabric.) I have enjoyed fabric in as far-away places as St. Petersburg, Russia, and Budapest, Hungary and many places in the U.S. Your variety of fabrics and notions and friendly, helpful service make you at or near the top of my list. Thankfully you are only 1.5 hours from home.
    I look forward to your change and appreciate your trying to fill the empty space left with no classes there by coordinating an area class directory. I am self-taught and have never taken a class, but I know that many sewists need the knowledge and encouragement that comes from classes.
    Happy future!!!

    1. Hi Louise! I am so grateful for your support and understanding. It's not easy to share thoughts and plans so publicly, but in this case, it feels very important. You are so right that many folks need to take classes and some don't want to take them online, but want to feel a part of community. We are grateful that you make the 1.5 hour trip to our store and we hope to have many surprises for you on your next visit! best, Suzan

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