1 March, 2011
Janome America, Inc. is proud to recognize Donald and Audrey LaValley of the Bittersweet Fabric Shop in Boscawen, NH. Donald and Audrey were inducted into the Vacuum and Sewing Dealers Hall of Fame at the VDTA trade show in Las Vegas, NV, on February 22, 2011.
Donald and Audrey LaValley, with their son Dave.
Becoming a member of the Vacuum and Sewing Dealers Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors given to members of the sewing retail community. The LaValleys were nominated by a wide range of sewing industry professionals, and they are known far and wide for their service to our industry, and their generosity to their customers and community.
Bittersweet Fabrics opened on August 7, 1968 in the family dining room of the LaValley home. It was Audrey's dream to start the shop, quitting her job at the telephone company and managing her fledgling store with seven children at home (while cooking supper in the adjoining kitchen!). After five years, the LaValleys were able to purchase the property next door, and to build Bittersweet Fabric Shop 'proper'. Their store remains at that location to this day. As Audrey states, "From the beginning we felt that providing great quality merchandise, and giving the best quality service were paramount to a successful business and we have strived to keep that goal in mind."
In 1978, the LaValleys joined the New Home Sewing Machine family, which is now Janome America. Their service to the Janome brand has been amazing - providing quality machines, as well as first-rate sales, education and service to sewists throughout the northeast. Twelve years ago, after twenty years in the US Air Force, their son Dave joined the team, and has furthered their shop's outreach. Last year Bittersweet delivered brand new machines to every youth entrant of the Vermont Quilt Festival. This kind of generosity speaks to Bittersweet's commitment to spreading a love of sewing.
As strange as it may seem to us now, when the LaValleys opened their fabric shop the concept was something of a novelty, and success in their new endeavor was far from guaranteed. Their enterprising spirit prevailed, however, and we can thank them for their part in the variety of great fabric available to us all today.
Their story - from humble beginnings to one of the top and most respected Janome dealers in the United States - is truly an inspiration!