Next-generation sewing shop: Heirloom plans big expansion, builds huge YouTube following

June 16, 2020

Longtime family business Heirloom Creations is entering a new era.

In one week, it transitioned to new ownership, broke ground on a new event center, warehouse and sewing machine service center, and celebrated a YouTube channel that has amassed a massive following.

The new project will include two 4,000-square-foot buildings along Hawthorne Avenue, two blocks east of Heirloom’s current storefront on Western Avenue near 46th Street, where the business has been located for the past 16 years. That site will continue to be the retail shop. 

One of the new buildings will serve as the warehouse and service center and the other as an event center.

Co-owner Sara Snuggerud said the business has been looking for warehouse space for the past decade, but the family was reluctant to invest in a space in typical warehouse locations such as northern Sioux Falls, Tea or Harrisburg because of distance.

“I mean, that just is a long drive once a day,” she said. “But we’ve just always been looking for something. And how many times have we driven by this lot?”

In addition to breaking ground on the buildings, last week marked another huge business milestone. Snuggerud and her husband, Steve, took over ownership from his parents, who started Heirloom 31 years ago.

And just to complete the week – Snuggerud also received a plaque honoring Heirloom’s YouTube channel, which just exceeded 100,000 subscribers. She started the channel in 2008, producing more than 3,600 videos and accumulating 27 million total views.

“I have been in the sewing industry since I was 15 years old, and so I’ve always taught it,” she said. “And so my husband, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You should do some videos.’ ”

Heirloom sells and services Bernina, Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff sewing machines and Horn of America and Arrow sewing and quilting cabinets. For each brand they sell, Snuggerud creates videos for each page of the training manuals demonstrating how to use these machines.

“If you own something — your refrigerator, your microwave — I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep my manuals,” she said. “If you need something, you just Google it, right? And so I’ve become that channel that when you have a sewing machine of the brands that we sell, you type in your brand, your model number and what you’re trying to do and out come our videos. So our YouTube channel is like 11 years old, but as they say, it takes a long time to become an overnight success.”

Snuggerud has a filming studio in her home, which will move to the new event center space once it’s open. The event center also will be home to the classes and events Heirloom hosted in a pre-COVID-19 world. She said the store could hold up to 50 people for classes, a number that will increase with both a new space and eventual loosened health guidelines for how many people should be in a room together.

Snuggerud said they purchased the land close to Heirloom in January before COVID-19 hit Sioux Falls, but they were still slowed down when their building permits got delayed because of the pandemic. The couple originally planned to open the new spaces in the fall but said it won’t be until sometime in 2021.

In the past, they’ve had little flexibility when it comes to hosting larger events such as speakers or hands-on machine classes, Snuggerud said. She’s excited for the new location to change how Heirloom hosts these events while allowing them to still provide the quality machine service they’re known for. 

“If we have an idea that we want to host an event or we have access to an industry-name speaker that’s coming through our area, I can put together an event that could host easily 100-plus people with no problem on a whim,” she said. “You don’t always have that option when convention centers are booked years in advance. So just the flexibility to be able to host bigger sewing events will be great.”

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Next-generation sewing shop: Heirloom plans big expansion, builds huge YouTube following

Longtime family business Heirloom Creations is entering a new era. We’ve got details on its new buildings, new owners and the huge following it’s built online.

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