Lisa Vaupel stands in front of the intricate embroidery machine she uses to sew custom designs onto clothing and home décor items at Threads Custom Apparel in Chatfield.
Lisa Vaupel stands in front of the intricate embroidery machine she uses to sew custom designs onto clothing and home décor items at Threads Custom Apparel in Chatfield.
Mat and Lisa Vaupel had not planned to move their business, Threads Custom Apparel, so soon after becoming owners of the embroidery business in Chatfield. However, Lisa explained, when a building just up the street came up for sale, the opportunity to own their own retail space instead of renting was just too appealing. Their new location is at 203 Main Street South.

"This space is just brighter and bigger," she explained. "When we found out this building was available, we fell in love with it immediately."

In addition to having an apartment upstairs which provides rental income, the cost to own the building proved to be more economical than renting.

"We also have more room to grow and evolve," Lisa added. "It's just a beautiful space. Even the workspace is larger."

When preparing the building for their relocation, the Vaupels found a few treasures in their basement. An old counter was shoved against a wall, abandoned and dirty. It took six people to pull it out of the basement and after it was pressure washed, the top of an old shipping crate was discovered as part of the structure. The address belonged to Milo White, the owner and operator of a mercantile in the mid-1800s.

After doing some research, Lisa discovered he was also a prominent member of the Chatfield community, serving as mayor and a member of the school board. He also served in the state senate.

Lisa's mom, Becky Hodkinson, repainted the cabinet in its original green color and it is now located in the store as a sales counter. Hodkinson also created many other pieces that are being used for display areas and adornments throughout the store.

"My mom has been great," Lisa said. "And my sister, Shannon, and friend, Kelly, came in and helped me do my displays. They kept me sane."

She added that many other friends came in and helped as well, making the transition from the old space into the new go much more smoothly.

"The support and help we've had from various friends has been awesome," Lisa added. "Having friends give of their time, efforts and ideas has been great. Without that, we would have nothing."

The new store has several distinct areas, including the sales floor, a work area with the embroidery machine and an office area.

Lisa also said there is a storage space that may soon become a bargain area where one can come in and get a good deal on items with older designs as she continues to rotate her inventory.

A large area of the new store is dedicated to Chatfield Gopher athletic wear. Sweatshirts, caps, jackets and pants are just the beginning of the clothing options one can purchase to show their school spirit.

Another section is dedicated to the embroidery machine where Lisa works her magic - transferring designs, logos and letters onto fabric with thread. The possibilities are as endless as the combinations of the colored threads that line the wall behind the machine.

Lisa explained the business is expanding into home décor items such as towels, afghans, place mats and anything else one would like to adorn with embroidered designs.

"We are open to new ideas," she added. "We have thousands of types of clothing or items you can pick from. You are not limited to what is in the store."

Her clients have arranged for her to embroider designs onto everything from one-of-a-kind items to frequently-ordered batches of T-shirts used for restaurant staff.

"Everyday something new comes in," Lisa added.

While this can sometimes provide a challenge, it is also something Lisa loves about her business venture. Her days are never the same and she has the opportunity to learn something new each day.

Lisa pointed out that an open house will be held in their new building this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She will be offering a 20 percent discount on in-store items. Get it embroidered and get 20 percent off the entire order. She will also be offering 50 percent off Redwing Shoes and Key Workwear items in stock.

Threads is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

One may call the store at (507) 867-0111 or email info@threadscustomapparel.com.