The 1,800 square-foot retail store will carry fabrics, books, and notions that are especially focused on custom-made pillowcases, home decorating, and fashion. Pillowcasegram will carry fabrics for quilting; however, quilting will not be their main focus.
With two other quilting stores nearby, Lesley Rackowski, thought that her store could be set apart by offering more fabrics for home decorating and fashion. Custom-made pillowcases will especially be a big part of the sales of the store.
“We’re looking forward to sharing our new store with our customers,” said Lesley Rackowski, the owner and creator of Pillowcasegram & Other Things. “The new store enhances our ability to really allow our customers to come in and find fabrics to make a truly one-of-a-kind custom-made pillowcase to give as a gift. They can choose the colors that they want for the cuff or the band. Currently, on our internet site, we choose the colors. But this will allow them to choose what they want. They will also be able to add buttons and trims to decorate the pillowcase, or maybe even the box. We send all our pillowcases in a unique box that really compliments the pillowcase as a gift. We are very excited to be able to offer this to our customers.” She added that customers can purchase fabrics to make their own pillowcases, too. They will be carrying a large amount of novelty fabrics so pillowcases can be made in themes that coincide with what the recipient loves about life. Lesley says, “We have fabrics from Airplanes to Zoology, and in between.”
The new retail store will be staffed by two full-time employees: Marilyn (Mo) Ferree, the store’s assistant manager and Julie Kramer, who will focus on the home decorating part of the store. One part-time Employee, Cheri Ficarra, will be the head of the fashion fabrics department. Lesley’s husband and sons are also helping in the background. Lesley says, “My husband’s and son’s help during these past few months of getting my store ready to open has been phenomenal. I could not have done it without their help, and especially their understanding of me working sometimes late into the evening and on weekends.”
The Pillowcasegram store has some very unique features. Lesley wanted to give the store a certain feeling, so that as soon as people walk in, they know it is a fun place to visit. The pink, cranberry, and ivory scallops that are printed on Pillowcasegram’s business card, web site, and telegrams will be a theme that is carried throughout the store. The scallops will be painted on the walls. The custom-made bookshelves have scallops on the top. The furniture she ordered from Henry & Company and Chautauqua Design Center was custom-made. The cutting table will actually be a piece that is usually ordered as a kitchen island. However, the Amish Buggy was able to order it from their source and have it painted pink and ivory, to match the décor in the store. When Lesley told the salesman that she wanted it painted pink, he was a little taken aback at first. But then he had fun working with her to be sure that she got the color she wanted to make this a very fun piece for the store. “I didn’t just want plain, ordinary wooden furniture in my store,” Lesley said. “I really want this store to have a different look to it. So I’ve been very careful in the furnishings that I have selected.”
The telegram that is sent with each Pillowcasegram has been “blown up” to a 4’x6’ foot telegram that hangs on the wall. It is actually a white board that will be used to announce specials and other announcements throughout the year, so the customers can see them right as they walk into the store. The telegram and all of the signs for Pillowcasegram were made by Vacanti Signs, in Fredonia, New York. “It was very exciting to see the sign go up on the side of the building,” says Lesley. “It was a very proud moment to see my dream of opening a store finally coming true.”
Lesley also adds that the store will have a lounge area, which has a TV set and comfortable wicker furniture where her customers can spend time looking through pattern books and magazines, or just visit with friends. “If someone comes shopping with their spouse, but then they start getting antsy that the “big game” is on and they don’t want to miss it, we can just put it on the TV, and they can sit back and enjoy the game while their spouse is shopping,” says Lesley. The store will also be holding classes and special events in the store throughout the year. “I really want the store to be a fun place to visit,” says Lesley. “It can be the ‘Starbucks’ of fabric stores,” she said, ‘where people can relax with their friends.” She plans to offer WiFi later in the year.
Pillowcasegram’s hours will be 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday. During the summer, the store will be open until 7:00 pm on Saturdays. It will be closed on Sundays and Mondays. However, if someone can only come on a Monday, they may make an appointment between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm most Mondays, by calling the store phone number. The website (pillowcasegram.com) will also still be available 24 hours a day for the times that the store is not open.