After 30 years of helping local business owners as an executive with local chambers of commerce, Ann Hughes decided to “walk the talk” by going into business herself.
Building on a lifelong love of quilting, embroidery, knitting and other fiber arts, Hughes and her husband, Phil Hughes, have opened Ann’s By Design at 118 W. Maumee St. in downtown Adrian.
The store’s lineup includes yarn, fabric, quilting patterns and tools, embroidery kits and patterns, wool for applique projects, and more.
“Coming in here every day is almost like going to the playground,” Hughes said. “I’m surrounded by things that I love and enjoy.”
Hughes is no stranger to retail. In fact, she met her husband when she went to work for a downtown bookstore in 1963. Starting in 1985, she was the chief operating officer of what was then called the Lenawee County Chamber of Commerce for 18 years. She then went on to found the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce, serving as president and CEO for 12 years until her retirement.
Hughes said the principles of providing good service applies whether you’re talking about a chamber of commerce serving its members or a store serving its customers.
“We’re a locally owned, personal shop,” she said – a place where people feel relaxed and welcomed.
It’s also a store that makes sure to stock high-quality products. The yarn, for example, is by Cascade, a brand that Hughes said has a strong following and that, according to the manufacturer’s website, isn’t available anywhere else in Lenawee County. Besides materials and tools, the store also has greeting cards and a selection of books.
Hughes has been aided in the endeavor by a group of women who have been getting together at her house for quilting every week for the last 21 years. They’re now meeting at the store and going by the name Seamsters’ Local 118 – after the store’s street address – and they’ve been helping around the store as it gets up and running.
The store offers quilting classes with Kathy Tripp and Barbara Harvey and knitting classes taught by Jan Parson and Linda Kaufman, and Hughes plans to add more classes soon.
Hughes added that she’s glad to be part of downtown Adrian’s revitalization.
“I believe in the future of downtown,” she said.
Hughes said she believes there are other people in the community with ideas that could lead to good downtown businesses, and she hopes to see more people pursue those dreams.
“I’d like to see more little shops like this,” she said.
Ann’s By Design is open Mondays from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesdays from noon to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.