Sisters Lynn Haberl and Lisa La Pointe began their lifelong love of quilting and sewing as children when they made clothes to dress up their Barbie dolls.
Recently, they decided to share their talent for the crafts with the world.
They opened Inspire! Quilting & Sewing last month at 101 N. Collins St., in the former home of the Paso Fino Horse Association. Haberl, who owns the 102-year-old building with her husband Fred, said she fell in love with it and its location in the heart of the historic business district.
"We came over on a Sunday and peeked in the windows and said, 'This is it.' By Monday, we found the Realtor and signed the contract," she said.
The sisters already have a loyal following, including Michaele Daramus, founder of the Berry Patch Quilt Guild.
"All the quilters in Plant City are glad they're here," Daramus said. "We had 17 of our members here for their opening, and we only have 26 members. So that says a lot."
Haberl, who lives in Lakeland, said she long had a love for Plant City's quaint downtown and. So when she decided to go into business, there was no other location in her mind.
Her sister, who moved from Boynton Beach to co-own the business, was quickly hooked.
"We just love everything about Plant City and its downtown. We wanted to be a part of it," La Pointe said.
La Pointe, who formerly worked for Barnes & Noble, now lives in Plant City with her husband Wayne.
The building, known as the T.M. Strickland building, was basically in good shape but they painted, added wood floors and made other improvements. The building had been vacant since 2010, when the horse association moved its headquarters to Kentucky after 15 years here.
The business is chockfull of all the supplies quilters and sewers need, including fabrics, notions, books and other products. They plan to offer classes starting in October.
Jane Bender, a retired Plant City High School agriculture teacher, said she comes into the shop most days. Recently, she stopped in to show off a purse she created with supplies she bought from Haberl and La Pointe.
Bender said she's inspired to get an early start on the holidays.
"It's got me thinking to do a lot more Christmas gifts."
Inspire! Quilting & Sewing
Address: 101 N. Collins St.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Telephone: (813) 704-4867
More info: www.inspirequiltingandsewing.com