Quirky boutique gearing up for fall relaunch

A SECOND COAT Sew Knot Serious plans downtown reopening

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Maybe it's just a coincidence that the last business to set up shop at 139 Main St. in Cartersville was called Iris Dry Cleaners — but for Sew Knot Serious co-owners April Johnson, Brenda Benton and Steve Johnson, it might as well have been fate smiling down on them. 

"My mother, and April's grandmother, was named Iris," Benton said. "So it was just kind of like a little sign to us."

The original Sew Knot Serious shop opened at 1165 Joe Frank Harris Parkway in Feb. 2013. With its funky aesthetics and colorful signage, the apparel and interior design boutique quickly drew a following — that is, until work on U.S. 41 slammed the brakes on business.

The new bridges cut them off from the main roadway, while property subtracted from their frontage made it difficult — if not impossible, at times — for customers to park.

"The road construction, it stopped everything," April said. "It was too dangerous."

For months April said she, her husband and her mother searched for a new location for the business. Then she met Downtown Cartersville property manager John Lewis.

"He said 'I'm going to find you a place,' and so I was just at peace with that," April said. "He called me a few weeks ago and he said 'I've got a place, do you want to come look at it?'"

Nestled in between Agan's Bakery and Rehoboth Professional Hair Braiding and in close proximity to a number of restaurants and coffee shops, Steve said the new spot was everything they were looking for.

"It was hard taking down the old sign on the billboard, because that's been a part of our lives," Steve, 71, said. "Now it's a new breath of fresh air that's coming forth and we're getting to see new things."

Their new digs is about the same size as the old U.S. 41 location. Factoring in Steve's painting area, it might be a few hundred feet smaller, but the stewards of Sew Knot Serious nonetheless say their new downtown spot will offer a larger amount of retail space.

"I think the people who follow us, they're going to see the same things that we do," said Benton, 68. "We'll have the same style, thinking outside the box. April, she inspires people … to take things you might have in the closet somewhere and bring it out and put some paint on it and do some embellishing and have a whole new thing."

Before the original brick and mortar shop opened, Benton said the trio cut their teeth (figuratively) and their fabrics (a little more literally) on the local arts circuit. 

"We wanted to make handmade things and it branched out," she said. "It started off doing craft shows and making purses and crocheted scarves and hats, things like that. And then when the store became available, it opened up a whole new [expansion] for us."

The inventory at the new and improved Sew Knot Serious, April said, will be familiar to frequenters of their old store. That includes everything from custom-made pillows — "Somewhere between Proverbs 31 and Tupac, there's me," one of them reads — to repainted and upcycled furniture to hand-knitted apparel of all varieties. But the 52-year-old is also planning on a few new features when her business relaunches this fall.

"We want to have more local artists in here, more craftsmen," she said. "We want to have a gathering spot for classes or some kind of meeting."

It's going to be a few months before Sew Knot Serious reopens its doors. April said pending things go smoothly in the remodeling and refurbishing phase, she anticipates her shop's grand reopening to take place in September or October.

"We are excited to begin again and one of our great phrases we love is 'the best is yet to come,'" she said. "We're just excited for a new adventure. We needed this, because we felt stuck."

Her husband is also excited about the new opportunities that await their freshly relocated business.

"The thing about moving downtown, too, is that we're a totally different type of business than the people already here in town," he said. "We're very colorful, we're unique, we try to do one-of-a-kind things … it's not just the same-old, same-old, we want to be the positive addition to where other businesses will come in, too. They can see this is a cool place to be in."

For the time being, the family act behind Sew Knot Serious has their work cut out for them. They're already making repairs and rebuilding the interior of the long-standing Main Street building — no easy task, considering the sweltering summer heat. 

But for the free-spirited kin, all of that sweat and toil is worth it. 

"Everything that April has done in her life has prepared her for opening this store," Benton said. "I think we kind of hung on too long at the old place, thinking the construction isn't going to take very long, and it just went on and on."

Steve likewise said he expects the change in scenery to inspire their artistic passions.

"People have said that April is sort of ahead of the curve in a lot of things," he said, "because she gets all this creativity going in her mind and it just blossoms."

Indeed, one could almost see that creative energy swirling as she dipped her brush in a pot of lavender paint — fittingly enough, named after her beloved grandmother — and wrote "Coming Soon Sew Knot Serious" on the front window of her new place of business.

"It looked like we were done there," she said with a determined glint in her eyes. "But we're not done."

More information on the business and updates on their move to Downtown Cartersville is online at www.facebook.com/sewknotserious.