Robin Jones will be realizing a dream today in downtown Kennesaw.
That's when the Marietta resident will officially cut the ribbon to open her first retail business, Cottontail Quilts.
Located at 2259 Lewis St. across from the the quilt shop is housed in a beautiful 112-year-old Southern home owned by longtime Kennesaw resident and his family.
"Strip shopping centers just didn't have the feel I needed," said Jones in recounting how she visited downtown Kennesaw to look at properties. "I took one look at this house and knew I was supposed to be here. This is it."
Jones started quilting 15 years ago and was recently laid off from her corporate job. She decided now was better than any other time to launch her dream business.
"The quilting industry grew 15 to 20 percent in sales in 2011," said Jones in explaining why she opened this year. "Hobbies are the last things people drop in a bad economy." She has a 38-page business plan and did research to discover that the northern area of Atlanta was untapped for quilting supplies for those coming from an hour or more away.
The 3,000-square-foot home is filled with lots of beautiful quilts hanging from the walls, 100 percent cotton fabrics, sewing notions, patterns, and books. Jones already has classes and events planned for all ages, including children ages 8 to 17. The upstairs of the house serves as storage and an office for now. The shop currently employs three part-timers, but Jones said she plans to add more employees eventually.
"I think we're a good fit for Kennesaw," said Jones. "Quilting is history. It used to be just the 65 and over group, but it's now moving towards younger women who are making things for their kids."
Jones is quick to point out that her husband of 32 years, Kevin, has been very supportive of her dream and even built the shelving in the shop. The couple has a 27-year-old married daughter.
Jones said she looks forward to becoming involved in the Kennesaw community, and is already participating in the nationwide "Quilts of Valor" program, which makes quilts for military men and women.