Does it seem possible that October 20th will mark the 5th anniversary of the grand opening of Born Again Quilts on South Wayne Avenue?
Much has transpired over the past five years to both the building and the business. Before the grand opening it took three months to have the basement walls secured by pouring cement down the old coal chute and securing metal posts and beams. The sidewalls were treated so they are now hardened and crumbling no more.
Upstairs robin blue wallpaper was pulled down to reveal patterned drywall was covered with coats of primer. The linoleum flooring under the former beauty salon sinks was pulled up and hours were spent chemically removing the sticky residue. The beautiful wood floors were cleaned and polished until they gleamed.
A little over a year later an application for a façade grant was written and approved in March 2013. That summer saw great changes to the exterior of the building as the stoop was removed to make the studio wheelchair accessible, the glued on sandstone was replaced with green porcelain, the display windows had to be totally redone because there was nothing but rotten wood under the dirty gray carpet. The B.B. gunned front windows that didn’t properly fit into their frames were replaced with double laminate low E glass panes with new tight fitting frames. Electricity was restored to the display windows and reproduction schoolhouse lights now illuminate them. The wooden back door that had that “rob me here” look was replaced with a secure metal door and peephole.
In 2015 it became apparent to protect the textiles and keep them healthy, a new roof was in order. Thanks to patrons in Fort Wayne and around the world, a new roof was installed before winter set in.
The next major building improvement will be real heating and air conditioning. Currently BAQ’s heat is from a suspended heater that does not cover the entire building. The air conditioner in the front transom window space drips on people when they enter. Quilts are like most people: they thrive in a constant temperature and humidity level.
As much as the physical building has changed over the past five years, so has the merchandise displays: quilt tops are now displayed from a vintage quilt frame, an antique TV (1956), radio/record player (1948), metal crib and tables are used as displays. Along with textiles, customers have enjoyed purchasing other vintage items displayed around the studio. In keeping with an earlier time period, the use of plastic has been diminished. If anyone has too many fabric shopping bags they would like to recycle, many of our customers take their items home in them.
Saving the best to last over the five years it has been our pleasure to allow non-profits to use the store windows to publicize their activities. BAQ has become a “fabric bank” where people have dropped off fabric to have it repurposed for charity projects.
As I reflect on the evolution of BAQ on South Wayne, it is with profound gratitude that I thank all of my customers, friends and those I hold most dear who have journeyed with me to make it the unique studio that it is today.
Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-515-9446.