Always Your Design in downtown Dell Rapids was recently recognized as a “Top 10” quilt shop in the United States by Better Homes & Gardens magazine. The owners, Diane Bunkers and Deb Mergen, found out their store was selected back in August of 2017. The store will be featured in the Better Homes & Gardens, Quilt Sampler magazine, which will be available on May 15th, 2018.
Competition was very high for the “Top 10” honor. Nearly 3,000 shops from across the country were eligible to apply for the honor. Bunkers and Mergen had to fill out a questionnaire about the store, the history, their employees, and why they enjoy having the quilt shop. Pictures also had to be uploaded of the store so the magazine had an idea of what the “look” was for Always Your Design. A panel of quilt experts, led by the American Patchwork & Quilting staff, reviewed the applications to select the 10 shops that will be featured in the Quilt Sampler magazine.
After finding out the store was selected in August, they had to come up with a new quilt design, order in fabric (to make sure it will be available when the magazine releases), make the quilt, and then get the quilt sent by November. As Bunkers and Mergen noted, any quilter would know that this takes a lot of time. Many hours were worked to get everything done. A photography team also had to come into the store in November. Three people spent an entire day at the shop taking pictures around the store and even around Dell Rapids. Bunkers and Mergen also said that one of the hardest things was keeping this recognition a secret from family and friends as they couldn’t announce anything until January.
Bunkers and Mergen, sisters and owners of Always Your Design, started the business over 17 years ago. They started with 200 bolts of fabric and have grown to now having 5,000. They are currently in their third location, purchasing their current location at 335 E 4th St in downtown Dell Rapids a little over a year ago. They are the largest quilt shop in eastern South Dakota.
The Better Homes & Gardens, Quilt Sampler magazine will be available starting May 15, 2018. Anyone that would like a copy of the magazine can call the store (605-428-4545) or stop by to sign up for a copy. The cost is $6.99.