After 30 years in business, 84-year-old Shirley Sacks, of Fleetwood, owner of Crewel World, decided to close up shop and retire.
However, Sacks does not see the closing of her shop as quitting and stopping her life's work but as 'going down a slightly different path.'
She said she was not always the proud owner of Crewel World. Formerly a book keeper by trade, she was not content with sitting at a bank desk her entire life. Even though she was fortunate enough to not necessarily have to work, she always held a passion for the art of needle point, knitting and crocheting but it was not until the 1970s that she decided to open her own business.
She explained that most people always have a dream and that a lot of people have special plans of what they want to do with their lives. Sacks said that opening the store was her dream and her 'some day I'm gonna' project.
Sacks cannot remember a time when she was not stitching and knitting. When she was a young girl, a neighbor started to teach her how to knit and crochet. She continued to learn more throughout school in home economics classes and studied under Elsa Williams at her school of needlepoint in West Townsend, Mass., where she earned her teaching certification. She also studied in Richmond, Va., at the Valentine Museum and she also took classes and workshops at a variety of trade shows.
Sacks is also member of many different guilds and organizations. She is a juried member of the Berks Chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America Inc. and the Reading-Berks Chapter Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.
According to Sacks, people in the needlework field do not always gain the amount of respect and credit they deserve. She explained that she continued membership in these organizations so she can 'rattle cages and let people know that needle work is important and there is a lot more to it than just stitching.'
On top of owning Crewel World, Sacks also teaches children and adults alike the art of needlepoint and volunteers for various camps and workshops.
She is also a member of the Kutztown Area Historical Society and the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. She also volunteers for the Kutztown Folk Festival.
Though Sacks is retiring and closing her shop, she does not plan to stop teaching. With the economy the way it is now, she believes that now is a good time to close and allow herself to be able to do more stitching for herself and it will give her more time to volunteer and teach.
The home of Crewel World has not always been at 361 E. Main St., Kutztown but previously was located further up on Main Street and also in Fleetwood. It was not until 1984 that she found the current location of the shop.