Creating artwork on cloth

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, March 9, 2010

“I work all the time, work, work, work, 12 to 14 hours a day … but I enjoy it a lot and love my job,” are the comments made by Gladys Reinertson of Reinertson Embroidery, 127 S. Broadway Ave.

This firm specializes in embroidering various designs and business logos onto articles of clothing.

“It’s all computerized,” she explains.

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And adding a special sight and sound touch to this store’s atmosphere are several automatic embroidering machines. One unit has four heads that duplicate the same design on separate articles of clothing. Another unit has two heads and still another has a single head for special creations. Each head, incidentally, has a full set of spools holding fine threads of various colors.

“We do a lot of small orders,” said Reinertson, 62.

“People can bring in their own articles of clothing or purchase items we may have in the store,” she added.

Those articles of clothing include hats, caps, sweatshirts, vests, T-shirts, denim items, regular shirts, socks and even blankets.

The embroidery designs can be based on the customers creations, a choice of 20,000 designs in a large catalog and standard or specialized business logos.

This store is the exclusive outlet for apparel and designs based on the Albert Lea Thunder hockey team. Reinertson’s also specializes in embroidered apparel items for Albert Lea, Alden-Conger, New Richland-Hartland/Ellendale-Geneva, United South Central and Glenville-Emmons high schools.

Another specialty for Reinertson’s is creating and selling apparel items at antique tractor shows. Thus, Lyle and Gladys have been making trips to those shows all over the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana and Ohio for about 15 years.

Reinertson’s also sells embroidery items by mail order. This business is created by advertising in three magazines. As a result, orders are received by mail, telephone, e-mail and on a Web site.

Gladys started her working career as a switchboard operator for the telephone company in her home town of Fergus Falls, then Thief River Falls and Oelwein, Iowa.

“This job faded away with automation,” she commented.

Her next endeavor was at a tailor shop in Fergus Falls and this led to the embroidering business.

“I’ve always done embroidering by machine,” she declared.

And along the way for many of those years she was a mother for a growing family.

The Reinertsons lived in Rochester for five years, then moved to Lyle. They drove back and forth to Albert Lea to operate their store in the Northbridge Mall for eight years. Now they live in Albert Lea.

Reinertson’s Embroidery was located in the Northbridge Mall for 10 years and has been at the South Broadway location for three years.

The store, 127 S. Broadway Ave., has four part-time employees. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, and closed on the weekend.