Address: 3770 E. La Salle St.
In 1952, Tim Myers’ parents cashed in a savings bond to buy a sewing machine franchise. More than 60 years later, he’s taken over from his folks and is still operating the business near the intersection of Academy Boulevard and Constitution Avenue in Colorado Springs.
His mom worked as an industrial seamstress in St. Louis and his dad repaired sewing machines. After years of working for others and at big industrial plants, they moved to Colorado Springs and decided to buy their own franchise.
“They had $1,000 from one of our — the four kids — savings bonds,” he said. “I think it was mine — and that’s all it took to get started. They bought the franchise and the inventory. It just took off, mostly because of my parents’ work ethic.”
Myers grew up working and repairing sewing machines, and then went away to college in Durango. After a couple of semesters, he broke the news to his parents: He wanted to run the business.
“Mom, of course, wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer — everyone’s mom wants that,” he said. “But I knew that I wanted to work in the family business. It’s worked out — I’ve never said, ‘I hate my job,’ or ‘I don’t want to go to work today.’ I love what I do.”
Myers not only inherited the business from his mom and dad — he also inherited their commitment to working hard and going the extra mile for their customers.
Myers went a little farther than just the extra mile — last month, he delivered a sewing machine cabinet to a client in California. He’s known to make house calls to repair machines, even on his day off.
“She sews for a living, and she couldn’t wait,” he said. “So I went out there. She has a big, industrial machine, it doesn’t travel well.”
Myers strictly follows his dad’s three-second rule: Greet a customer within three seconds of entering the business.
“I just treat people the way I want to be treated,” he said. “And for us, that starts in the parking lot. We’ll carry in machines for our clients to be repaired. That kind of customer service is rare today.”
But while Myers can repair any kind of machine, he’s picky about what he sells. There aren’t any Singers or Michleys on his shelf. Instead, he sells a single brand: Baby Lock, from a Japanese company.
“The other ones, I can’t stand behind,” he said. “They’re cheaply made and I just can’t sell products like that.”
Baby Lock is an unusual name, he says, but it makes sense. It’s an interlocking machine, smaller than the industrial machines that used to be typical in the 1960s.
“They’re Japanese, so they named it Baby to indicate that it was smaller,” he said. “It’s a good, solid product, though.”
Myers can discuss sewing machines, machine parts and stitching techniques with clients. But he doesn’t stop there. If someone is interested in taking up sewing, embroidery or quilting, he’ll let her or him come in and try it out — free of charge.
“There’s no sense in paying money for something you might not like,” he said. “My dad always said, ‘If you treat the customer right, the money will come.’ And he was right — we’re growing the business even now.”
Myers doesn’t focus solely on selling and repairing machines. He partners with seamstresses to teach classes as well.
“We try to offer everything to do with sewing in one location,” he said. “And that’s what keeps people coming back.”
He plans to continue that focus on customer service, but in the future he’ll take it a step further.
“We’re reworking the shop now,” he says. “We’re going to focus even more on the classes, to give people a chance to see if they like sewing or embroidery.
“And we’re going to do some ‘crafty’ projects — give people a chance to create something. It’s going to be fun.”
Those plans are still in the works. But Myers doesn’t envision his business slowing down any time soon.
“I’m focusing on all the things that made this business a success for my parents,” he said. “And I can only see business growing in the next few years. I’ve been doing this since I was 17, and it’s been great.”
His mom and dad would be proud.