Speaking to members today was Ann Hughes, certainly no stranger to the downtown and its newest entrepreneur. Ann was formerly the director of the Lenawee Chamber for 18 years before spinning off and opening the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce where she served as President and CEO for 12 years. Her career history includes Alumni Director for SHU and long-time employee at the Bookstore in downtown Adrian in the 60’s where she met her husband, Phil. They have been married 49 years and have two sons.  
Ann’s business is only 3 and a half months old and is called Ann’s by Design located at 118 W. Maumee Street. Not one to just retire and do nothing, Ann said that her new business was an “idea” just one year ago! The idea, she said, was originally to open a craft/consignment shop. She ran into Don Taylor one day who asked her: “Would you be interested in downtown space for a store?” to which she replied “Yes!”
Don showed her a building that suited every one of her needs, she said. Albeit it one that he personally owned! It provided her classroom space, retail showroom and work space. In spite of the fact no market research was conducted before opening her store, Ann said that she knew there were people who wanted a store of the type she’d opened.
As her brochure states: The business grew out of the owner’s love of handiwork: knitting, crochet, wool applique, and embroidery. Those arts, when added to a passion for quilting resulted in the opening of the needle arts store in Downtown Adrian. The environment is welcoming and time spent is filled with relaxing conversation, the enjoyment of seeing and touching soft yarns and quality fabrics and getting your creativity and project ideas flowing.
Ann mentioned that a Yarn Tasting will be a standard event at her store where patrons review an array of yarns while enjoying wine! Ann said that it’s a joy to go to work every day. Ann said she plans to continue to be involved in the community and looking for projects to benefit other organizations like ProMedica and specifically with the children that they treat. She will be involved in the up-coming Art-A-Licious weekend in September as well. Ann said that she will continue to be involved in her trade association so that she can keep learning. She has visited other quilt shops to see what they do.
She said that she has a person who keeps up the businesses website, social media pages, etc. The store will go online October 4. She has a person who does her accounting as well. She said that her business is now part of the Row-by-Row with some 145 other stores across the country. Patrons simply visit a participating store during the summer and ask for a free pattern for a row in a quilt. At no cost. People from as far away as Alaska, Ann said, have visited her store.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Ann, and the club wishes you continued success in your new venture!