WILLIAMSTOWN -- After a year-long absence, Northern Berkshire once again has a store dedicated to quilters.
Karen Jolin, a Williamstown native who opened Karen’s Quilting Corner on Route 7 on July 31, said she is pleased with the reception.
"I’ve been really happy with it," she said in the store Monday. "It’s a slow time because everyone is busy doing their summertime vacations. I think it will really pick up in the fall."
The store will begin hosting classes then, she added.
"We’ll have different types of classes, some during the day for retired folks, some at night and on weekends," she said.
Jolin said she has been quilting since 2001, and frequented Tala’s Quilt Shop at Heritage State Park in North Adams.
"I started sewing when I was younger, but didn’t quilt," she said. "But when Tala opened the store, I just went in and fell in love."
Jolin said when Tala’s closed last year, it left a void for the local quilting community.
"You have to travel at least 45 minutes to the nearest quilt shop," she said. The distance to stores in Shelburne Falls, Lee and Bennington, Vt., makes it difficult during the winter months, she added.
It was ultimately her husband, Gary, who encouraged her to take action and fill the void.
"My husband said, ‘Why don’t you just open a quilt shop?’ " Jolin said.
Jolin first contacted the owners of Williamstown Marketplace on 857 Cold Spring Road last fall.
"This spring, my husband and I started coming in here on the weekends to clean it up," she said. "It had been empty for a long time."
Jolin said she will keep her full-time job in the Controller’s Office at Williams College, where she’s worked for 26 years.
"I wanted to do something a little different in my free time now that my kids are older," Jolin said. "My youngest just graduated from college last year."
Jolin said in an age of Internet shopping, many still enjoy visiting a shop to purchase their fabric.
"Quilters like to feel the fabric and see it," she said. "You’re inspired to do more when you can see it and bring it right home to you."
The store will be managed by Marlene Bottesi, Jolin said.
"She runs the shop during the week, and I come in at night and on the weekends," she said. "We have three other part-time people that help too.
Jolin stressed that people in the quilting community were "wonderful."
"[People] share what they do and their knowledge. ... It’s really fun to meet everyone. I already knew a lot of the quilters. Some people come into the shop who I didn’t even know quilted."
To reach Edward Damon, email