TRT: When did you first open the store?
Marilyn: October 1995. My mom, Grace VanEvery, and me opened the store. I’ve been in the business 21 years.
TRT: How many employees have you had over the years?
Marilyn: I took in a lot of co-op students to help them get their volunteer hours in. To help students gain experience also. I had a few helpers throughout the years, like my sister-in-law and some others.
TRT: What’s your helper’s role now?
Marilyn: Shirley is my helper now. Pudge. She keeps me company and helps with the cash register or looks after the store if I need to go somewhere. She helps with finalize products.
TRT: Have you been busy lately?
Marilyn: I was so busy this past January. It was unreal. Word of mouth advertising really helps when I do for projects for large companies like McMaster University and other big names. Once people start talking about a job well done, things begin to pick up.
TRT: If you had all the time and money in the world to use towards your business, how would you change it?
Marilyn: I’d expand. Stay here but make it bigger. I’d spend a lot of advertising. I don’t want to change my business because to me it’s like a hobby. I’ve always considered it a fun hobby. Even with embroidery it’s a lot of fun how creative you can get.
TRT: Can you share a funny or interesting memory with us from the early years of your business?
Marilyn: I don’t know if I should say this … but one time a guy came in to get work done by me and my sister-in-law and he said he had a tattoo he wanted to show us on his back. It was a tattoo of a bear. So he lifted his shirt to show us and his back was all hairy. So hairy that the tattoo of the bear looked actually furry, like a bear!
TRT: How many kids do you have?
Marilyn: Five kids. I’m married and my husband’s name is Robert.
TRT: What does it mean to be a successful woman in business?
Marilyn: I’ve never liked drawing attention to myself. I want to be behind the scenes. Doing the very best job that I can behind the scenes. As much as I prefer to just stay in the back and sew I really love my customers and it’s been fun over the years to listen and talk to them and get to know them. Sometimes they come just to chat and I really appreciate that.
TRT: Is there anything in the store that you carry that you’d like more people to know?
Marilyn: I think it’s always good to mention that we carry tax-free, work wear, work boots, jeans, and more all at a good price. Usually our regular prices are cheaper than an off-reserve store’s sale prices. If you need a different size I’ll do my best to order it in for you.