Mom and pop shops are somewhat hard to find nowadays, but Odegaard’s Sewing Center is just around the corner. For those who do not know, Flagstaff City councilmember Charlie Odegaard is the third-generation owner of Odegaard’s Sewing Center. The sewing center offers a variety of classes for inexperienced and experienced sewers.
The most popular class offered is the Saturday Sampler. It is a class with an upfront cost and on the last Saturday of each month, sewers learn to make a block. By the end of the year, they have a finished quilt. Odegaard said the sewing center is known for a cycle of selling, servicing and instructing.
Odegaard’s Sewing Center is located at 2109 N. Fourth St., across from Fratelli Pizza. Inside, customers will find a large selection of fabrics, threads, sewing machines, needles and anything else a novice or expert sewer might need. The employees in the store are only concerned with helping the customers and creating the best sewing experience.
“Pay attention to every customer … you touch base with every person, even if you’re running crazy busy, you still say, ‘Hello, I’m here if you need me,’” employee Ruth Dolin said.
Odegaard’s Sewing Center was opened in 1969 by Odegaard’s grandparents. Odegaard may not have been expecting to be a third-generation store owner when the business started, but he and his employees help him keep operations running smoothly. Odegaard gave credit to many people who help him run the shop.
“My grandmother and grandfather both worked here. My grandpa was the sales guy and my grandma was the repair person,” Odegaard said. “It’s still a very mom-and-pop type of family business.”
He said his dad works at the shop four to five days a week and Odegaard himself works six. His wife, mother and several employees also assist in running the shop.
Upon entering the store people are greeted by many employees and every sewer’s needs are met. Someone might be looking for a specific material that is not sold anywhere else, perhaps leather, and they will likely find it at Odegaard’s. If someone is just looking to get their sewing machine fixed, the sewing center offers same-day services. The employees and owner go above and beyond for their customers, and try to accommodate any and all needs.
“The store is rooted in traditions of hard work and trying to provide the best customer service,” Odegaard said.
Ruth Dicob, a current volunteer teacher at Odegaard’s, started by buying her sewing supplies from the store. After her retirement, she decided to start teaching there for fun. She teaches the Saturday Sampler, and other quilting and technique classes.
“[Odegaard] keeps saying, ‘I’m going to retire one of these days and I don’t see that happening,” Dicob said. “I think he enjoys the people too much.”
People from all over northern Arizona come to Odegaard’s for its services. People from Page, Arizona, Prescott, Sedona, Phoenix and even Tucson visit Odegaard’s. The sewing center offers same day servicing because Odegaard said it wouldn’t be fair, especially to out-of-towners, to make them drive to Flagstaff to drop off their machine and make that drive again in a week. The consideration for people’s time really makes a difference for everyone who comes into Odegaard’s, creating a loyal customer relationship.
Odegaard has lived in Flagstaff for over 30 years and also attended NAU. He knows a lot about the community and is currently running for mayor of Flagstaff. Being a business owner, councilmember and mayoral candidate, one might wonder how Odegaard is able to juggle so many tasks at once.
“Yes, it’s challenging to find that balance but I seem to make it work,” Odegaard said.
Odegaard worked at the sewing center in his youth, doing small tasks for his grandmother like fetching yarn. He said he started working at the sewing center full time when he was about 20 years old. The cycle of selling, servicing and instructing has been strong in the Odegaard family, and they have set a standard of consistency over generations. In the future, it looks like the shop will stay rooted in the city, leaving customers satisfied through attentiveness.