Mum, daughter duo sew up Monto market
MONTO creatives were in mourning last year when news broke that fabric and haberdashery store Stitch 'n Stash was shutting its doors permanently.
But a Bundaberg mother-and-daughter duo with a soft spot for the town have stepped up, opening 2 Chicks and a Sewing Machine on Newton St to scratch the creative itch for locals.
Gemma Cunningham, a radiation oncology nurse, said she first discovered Monto when she was working in Eidsvold.
"I went for a drive one day and fell in love with the town," she said.
"I visited the previous sewing shop, Stitch 'n Stash, and thought it was fantastic.
"I was really sad to hear that the previous sewing shop had closed down and that the ladies in this beautiful community no longer had anywhere to buy sewing notions without having to drive an hour away."
A Facebook poll revealed a groundswell of local support for a replacement shop.
"I knew this was what I needed to do," Ms Cunningham said.
"I was overwhelmed by the messages of support, the offers of help and the excitement of once again have a sewing shop opened."
Ms Cunningham plans to move to Monto to be closer to her store.
The shop, 2 Chicks and a Sewing Machine, is the brainchild of Ms Cunningham's daughter Ellie Greer, who dreamed up the venture in a Year 9 business education class at school.
"We made up a craft business and listed a range of different products," Ms Cunningham said.
"From that, I thought why not do this more often, so we started doing markets and selling through Facebook.
"When I found out there was no sewing shop in Monto I knew it was time to turn 2 Chicks and a Sewing Machine into a proper shop."
Ms Cunningham said she had been in love with creating since she attended her first craft class when she was 12.
"I love the challenge of finding a piece of material and creating something special and unique with it," she said.
"I am hoping that my love of all things craft will bring in people from all crafting interests.
"Not only do I love the feeling of creating something special, I love the social aspect of crafting as well.
"It doesn't matter what craft it is, but when you get a group of people together who all share a common interest it makes for a lovely social occasion and sometimes that is all some people need."
The Monto store is much more than just a shop: it is a hive of activity.
This month Ms Cunningham will launch children's craft classes, beginners' sewing and quilting classes, and a knitting and crocheting group on Monday afternoons from 3-5pm.
"We would love to see more men get involved in any of the sewing classes," Ms Cunningham said.
The store will sell a range of quilting fabrics and supplies along with sewing notions, wool and crochet supplies, sewing machines and patterns, and handmade items.
A sewing machine technician will make a monthly visit to the shop to service machines, and an embroidery service will also be available.