‘If they stop once, they’ll stop again’: Hayward business finds success at physical location and online

Published 1:47 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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By Ayanna Eckblad

HAYWARD — Nestled just off of Interstate 90 and Interstate 35 is Calico Hutch Quilt Shop.

The store has been owned by Gregory and Carolyn Matson of Hayward since 2002 when the couple bought the business from LaVonne Williams, the previous owner.

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Calico Hutch has found a niche in displaying a wide variety of project samples with kits that customers can purchase to make at home. The shop also sells several models of Bernina sewing machines, fabric, sewing notions and more.

“We try to have a variety of all the fabrics that people like,” said Carolyn Matson. “We don’t specialize in any one thing, we try to have a good variety.”

Calico Hutch also offers long-arming services in which quilts can be sewn to batting and backing fabric using a large machine.

The business does not stop at selling products; they also have quilting classes, shop hops and retreats throughout the year. Matson said that there is going to be an April retreat with 300 people in attendance. A bus tour of about 500 people is also in the works.

Calico Hutch has grown substantially since the Matsons took ownership. According to Matson, sales have increased about 25 to 30 times since 2002. The store currently employs 25 people, many of them part time.

“I have a great staff,” she said. She explained that employees help decide what to make and display as well as what kits and products to carry. This makes for a successful shop with a variety of ideas and input. She said the staff is a major reason the shop has been so successful.

Although Hayward is a small rural town, its location near major freeways gives Calico Hutch a big advantage for attracting business.

“We have about 6,000 customers that stop on their way from Minneapolis to Des Moines, and from La Crosse to Sioux Falls, and from Texas to Austin, Minnesota,” Matson said. “We have people that stop in campers, we have semi drivers stop, wanting to buy quilts.”

The store has four billboards to attract new customers as well.

“If they stop once, they’ll stop again,” she said.

She also said that other Hayward businesses like Lucky’s Pub and Nick’s Meats provide places for people to have something to do while their spouses shop for quilting supplies.

Calico Hutch’s physical location is thriving, but for those who prefer shopping from the comfort of home, the business has a large online store at www.calicohutchquiltshop.com.

Calico Hutch is at 20520 810th Ave in Hayward. Those who wish to contact the store can call 507-377-1163 or go to the Calico Hutch website.