MONTPELIER — In the changing landscape of Capital City storefronts, one fabric-related business will be replaced by another this autumn.
Downtown T’s at 68 Main St. closed its retail outlet last week but will continue as an online business in Middlesex. In its place, Notion Fabric and Craft, a new business established by Mary Margaret Groberg, will open a sewing, knitting and embroidery supplies outlet. It will also include a community sewing room in the same space.
Hayden Durkee launched Downtown T’s, a custom T-shirt and apparel store on Main Street in May 2017. Durkee says he got the idea for the business while working for Gary McMillan of Montpelier-based Cosmic Cotton, a tie-dye T-shirt contractor for the legendary California band, The Grateful Dead, for many years.
People in the city may remember Durkee for his dynamic business debut, when he opened the popular city candy store, Delish, on State Street, several years ago while still a 16-year-old high school student at U-32 Middle and High School.
He sold the business two years later, then spent time working in the Mixing Room, an upstairs aromatherapy division of Splash Naturals, a body care and beauty products business in Montpelier operated by his mother, Kelly Sullivan, who owns the building at 68 Main St.
When Sullivan moved her business across the street to the former Athena’s women’s boutique on Main Street, Durkee moved into the former Splash Naturals’ space.
Durkee specializes in custom-design and preprinted T-shirts, tank tops and onesies that are the bulk of his business lines. The business also sells a range of other apparel and accessories such as hats, socks, mugs, magnets, postcards and incense. The specialty of the business that is T-shirts and other clothing items that are embossed using a costly laser printing press to produce one-of-a-kind and limited runs of custom clothing, using computer-generated images provided by customers.
Durkee said he would be operating the business out of his home in Middlesex and will be launching a new online website.
“I moved to a place that has more room and is a lot bigger,” Durkee said. “It’s not going to be like a storefront that people can walk around in, so Downtown T’s is closing and going online and people should check on Facebook for updates.”
Groberg, who is the wife of Montpelier Alive Executive Director Dan Groberg, said she is excited to be opening a new fabric and craft store that would focus on both sewing, knitting and embroidery supplies, and creating a new community space for people to work on fabric creations. She plans to open the business in October.
Groberg said she grew up with women in her family that were practiced in the art of a variety of fabric creation skills that blossomed when she learned to use a sewing machine.
“Years after I moved away from home and left my mom’s sewing machine behind, I treasured the memories of her making all those costumes for me,” Groberg wrote on her website. “I wanted a family someday and I knew it would make me feel connected to my mom if I could sew for them.”
Groberg said she also wanted to instill the same passion for sewing and other fabric crafts for others in the community.
“It’s going to be a retail store on the first floor, selling fabric, yarn, embroidery supplies, sewing supplies, knitting supplies – those crafty things,” Groberg said. “The second floor is going to be a sewing studio space where I’m going to host classes and events and it will also be available for folks to rent time and space to use the sewing machines, if they would like to try out a different one than they have at home or just spend some time creating things out in the world with the community around them.
“I find that once you kind of get people talking, everyone has connections to sewing and knitting. It’s in our bloodstream and in our heritage, whether it’s your mother sewed or your grandmother sewed. So it’s something that people associate strongly with, and it’s building community, and I want to create a space for that to happen,” she added.
For more information about Notion Fabric and Craft, visit www.notionvt.com
Durkee can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.