Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Bernina Sewing Center of Topeka Holding Closeout Sale after More Than 15 Years in Capital City

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Bernina Sewing Center of Topeka Holding Closeout Sale after More Than 15 Years in Capital City

Article excerpt

As some patrons of the Bernina Sewing Center of Topeka tell it, the store is the foundation of a tightly knit family, but that family will soon be without an immediate home.

Owner Colleen Janssen plans to close the store and retire from the sewing retail industry after nearly 25 years, which includes time she maintained a shop in Emporia.

Janssen moved to Topeka in February 2001 in an attempted expansion, but ultimately decided to concentrate her business in the capital city and closed her shop in Emporia in 2003.

Since its Topeka opening, the Bernina store has provided products, educational classes, immediate support, expertise in design software and machine operation, design assistance services and much more.

Carolyn Kuhn and Pat Thomas, of Topeka, have shopped at Bernina since the Topeka opening. They have made an effort to attend every single seminar and social event Janssen has organized, and said the impending closure is a personal loss.

"I thought, 'What am I going to do?'" Kuhn said. "Where can I possibly go? Of course, every item sold here you can surely find it somewhere in town or on the internet, but I don't know where."

Thomas said she is glad Janssen, who she considers a close friend, will remain in Topeka for at least the foreseeable future and help with occasional questions or problems in sewing.

But the industry is about to suffer a big loss of talent and dedication, Thomas said.

"I have to tell you something about Colleen," she said. "She is absolutely amazing. My husband has said, 'I don't think I've met a man or woman who is so totally invested in keeping her customers happy, and their needs met.'

"That is just amazing to me, she is an amazing person."

Kuhn said she considers Bernina a lifeline and its patrons and staff part of a family.

"And she's done all of this while raising her own family, four children, most of them were pretty young when she started," Kuhn said.

Janssen's main concern right now is the center's closeout sale.

Almost every single item of any sort in the store has a price tag on it, from the leftover stock to the chairs in a staff area. …

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