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Columbia Missourian

Fabric shop closes to count threads

By Joshua Boucher
December 31, 2013 | 5:51 p.m. CST
Every thread, every yard of fabric, every pattern and everything else needs to be counted and matched against the computer inventory at Appletree Quilting and Viking Center. Millie Kaiser, the owner, had lots of help Monday from employees, family members and friends.

COLUMBIA — Millie Kaiser, facing a table full of quilting fabric, picks through each bolt with a dental flosser. 

By her estimate, every yard is present and accounted for. So, flosser in hand, she moves on to the next bolt.

Kaiser owns Appletree Quilting and Viking Center, and once a year she closes shop to undertake a full inventory. She's surrounded by employees, family, people who teach classes at her store — and lots of fabric.

"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Evelyn Rothermich, Kaiser's sister who was drafted to help count embroidery thread.

The shop does rely on a computer inventory system, Kaiser said, but the store has a vast and varied inventory. Subtle differences in color can cause threads and buttons to become disorganized.

It's vital to double-check what's in the store by physically counting it all, but the whole process can take two or three days, she said.

Helpers walked around the store in pairs. One person counted the number of each item, while the other compared that number with the computer inventory.

Instead of unfolding every bolt and measuring it, helpers count each fold. Although this doesn't account for a few inches missing, it does let Kaiser know how many yards of fabric are on the roll.

Appletree Quilting and Viking Center will be closed until Kaiser finishes taking inventory.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.