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Announcing The Fabric Shop Network's First-Ever Star Award Winners!

Earlier this spring, I sent out a call to FabShop members and industry colleagues to tell us who shines the brightest in six different categories. The response was wonderful. It was a joy to read so many sincere comments about the top professionals in this industry. From these nominations, winners in each category were selected.

Star AwardsI was thrilled to present FabShop's first-ever awards to the shining stars of our industry at our traditional pre-Market member dinner, with a packed house of 170 attendees. The "Stars" room at WINDOWS on Minnesota overlooking Minneapolis was a perfect location to honor these stars—and I am certain that our FabShop Stars received far more attention than the stars twinkling outside the 50th-floor windows.

I know many of you were not able to make it to the dinner in Minneapolis, so I want to take the opportunity to share a little bit about each winner. Please join me in extending warm congratulations to the following FabShop Stars:

Star Shop – Batiks Etcetera & Sew What Fabrics

Batiks Etcertera

Carol C. Britt's Batiks Etcetera & Sew What Fabrics is known for its friendly staff, great store display, and comfortable atmosphere. Located in southwestern Virginia, Carol's shop specializes in batiks, unusual fabrics, and gourmet cottons. Batiks Etcetera & Sew What Fabrics is highly regarded for its vibrant mix of classes for locals and extensive offerings of hand-batiked fabrics on the Web for quilters across the country.



Star Communicator – Karen Montgomery

Karen Montgomery

When we assembled nominations for the Star Communicator award, someone wrote this about Karen Montgomery, owner of The Quilt Company in Allison Park, Pa.: "I am ... very impressed with her willingness to share her ideas and she always [speaks] very highly of her employees. [Karen] responds on the forum with wisdom for all." Anyone who is a regular on the FabShop forum would agree—Karen is always willing to share her years of knowledge as a quilt shop owner, designer, and businessperson to help others succeed.


Star Supplier – Checker Distributors

Checker Distributors

Checker Distributors was founded in 1948 to distribute zippers, threads, yarn, and ribbon to JCPenney and Woolworth's stores in northeastern Ohio. The company has continued to grow as a family-owned business ever since. Ten years ago, Checker developed its "NICHE" ("not in chains") inventory—products that are available only at independents. Checker is further committed to supporting independents by distributing merchandise only to independents and supporting the "Fabric Shopper Unite" campaign. Rob Krieger, Checker's president, attributes the company's success to the dedication of its employees. If you ever have the chance to visit Checker's headquarters in Ohio, you will see this—Checker really is a family. Checker is a loyal friend of FabShop, and I am thrilled that the members of FabShop selected Checker as this year's Star Supplier.

Star Sales Rep – Marci Middaugh

Marci Middaugh

Marci Middaugh, Checker sales rep for the central and eastern peninsula of Michigan, used to own a quilt shop and has been in this industry for over 25 years, so she really knows what to recommend to shopowners and what customers are looking for. Shops she works with tell us that Marci spends a huge amount of time not only researching new products, but trying them out herself. She's known for being able to hunt down anything a shopowner may need and for always being the consummate professional.

RDesign Star – Marti Michell

Marti Michell

Marti Michell has been designing quilt patterns and products, writing about quilting, and teaching quilting for 38 years. Her Perfect Patchwork system of templates, patterns, and books is beloved for how it helps quilters everywhere make precise quilts easily and quickly. Marti is a prolific author and always on the go as she teaches quilting at sewing expos, quilt shows, and festivals all year long. And, of course, she is a regular columnist in FabShop News. With the resume that Marti has, it's no surprise that our members selected her as their Design Star.

Rising Star – Liesl Gibson

Liesl Gibson

Liesl Gibson, Oliver + S founder and lead designer, established her children's sewing pattern company along with her husband, Todd, following the birth of their little girl. With a background in fashion design, Liesl wanted to fill a niche she saw in the industry, and began designing stylish, yet classic, sewing patterns for children's clothing. In just a few short years, Oliver + S has blossomed into a popular design studio with an avid following. At this Market, Liesl introduced Oliver +S's first collection of fabric—City Weekend, in partnership with Moda. I am sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg for Liesl's continued success in our industry!

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