Husband and wife duo close Quilted Heart after 16 years

PULLMAN, WA - A local shop is closing down after being in business for 16 years.

Saying goodbye to the Quilted Heart on the Palouse will be bittersweet for both the owners and their customers.

"Quilt stores are a store of their own breed," said Quilted Heart Owner Debbie McNeil.

About 16 years ago, a local school teacher opened up her own quilt store.

"We started in our home, and then we outgrew our home," said McNeil. "And then I decided I wanted to continue teaching but we wanted to continue this, so we found a place downtown Pullman and it just grew from there."

Of course, she had a little help.

"I do have a manager, his name is Jack McGrath," said McNeil. "But he's my husband also."

"My title is Quilt Man Jack," said Quilted Heart Manager Jack McGrath. "I kind of was named that by our customers. I tease Debbie all the time about being the man slave, but that's really not the case."

Store Manager Jack McGrath isn't sure why the store is called The Quilted Heart, but he says that some of the customers know it by another name.

"She said she got it up at 'Jack's' and he says, 'where?' she goes, 'You know, up at Pullman, at Jack's place.' said McGrath. "And so ever since then Debbie's been giving me a bad time about 'well, I've lost my shop. It's now called 'Jack's Place'."

To many locals, The Quilted Heart is more than just a place to buy fabric.

"It's a gathering place," said McNeil. "And big box stores don't have that same type of relationship with their customers."

"I mean, I've met some great people just shopping in here," said customer Renee Ray.

The green and pink signs in the window mean that the Quilted Heart is closing down. But, it's not for the reason you might think.

"We are at the top of the game here, basically we're ready to move on," said McNeil. "I'm almost ready to retire."

McGrath started managing the shop after he retired from teaching. He's looking forward to another retirement.

"Yes, for the second time," said Jack. "All my teacher friends accuse me of failing the first time."

Both McNeil and McGrath say they'll miss their customers the most. And it's safe to say it's a mutual feeling.

"We have no quilt shop in town now, we will not have any," said customer Angie Syr. "So, it was kind of sad."

The Quilted Heart is located on Grand Avenue and it plans to close its doors for good in early May. Until then, they're having sales to get rid of all the inventory and furniture.