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Local quilt shop sees uptick in business during pandemic

Owner Marie Duncan helps a customer at her Runs with Scissors quilt shop in Citrus Heights. // N. Otterstad

By Nadezhda Chayka Otterstad–
In Citrus Heights and across the world, living amid the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many life-altering changes, including renewed interest in hobbies like sewing and quilting.

Hobbies have become a saving grace for many people who have tragically found themselves out of work, as documented by numerous news articles across the nation. People have taken up old hobbies for which they previously had no time for and have found opportunities to learn new and exciting ones.

Stories such as children discovering a forgotten train set in their basemet that they were able to resurrect, and adults picking up drawing and sewing, show us how much time has truly been granted to us, albeit during a not so pleasant time.

In Citrus Heights, quilt shop owner Marie Duncan has seen an uptick in business during the pandemic. She recently moved her “Runs with Scissors” store from Sylvan Corners several blocks up the street to a spacious 1,800-square-foot, sunlit shop at 7525 Auburn Blvd.

Related: Meet Marie Duncan, owner of Runs with Scissors Quilt Shop in Citrus Heights

Filled with shelves holding a kaleidoscope of colors of fabric, Duncan could be seen helping one of her last customers of the day before she closed shop on Tuesday last week. A longarm machine, a much-needed tool for her customers, is a popular service she offers which can be seen parked at the front of the store.

Duncan said the move from her old location adjacent to Goodwill has given her a clean, safe shop with ample parking space. She also hasn’t had to step around homeless individuals sleeping on the sidewalk near her old store.

More importantly, she’s seen more people take an interest in her shop over the past year. “I have found that during the pandemic more people — because they are staying home — have taken up sewing,” said Duncan. She’s seen new faces who are brand new to the art, as well as regulars who stepped up their quilting during the pandemic.

“Because I do longarm quilting for customers, I have become very busy, because everybody has been sewing,” she said.

Duncan said most of her work is over the phone and through her Facebook page, where she updates her followers with new inventory. Curbside pickup has also been a big help to servicing her clients, although she’s had to cancel offering sewing classes due to COVID-19 concerns.

As for the benefits of quilting? Duncan says she’s heard quite a few stories from widows, after the loss of their husbands.

“When we were able to have our classes and ‘Sit and Sews’ this would be the place, a safe place for them to come and mingle with other women who might be in the same boat. And we really built a community in the almost 13 years I’ve been in business, as far as support for one another,” she said. “I’ve also had a couple gals with brain injuries take up quilting upon the request of their doctors that sewing is a really good thing for something like that.”

Psychologists also say hobbies are an important way to cope amid trouble, including during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In this time of uncertainty and instability, and a world and existence we no longer recognize, people need an anchor to familiarity and what once brought them comfort, stability, safety, and happiness,” clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere said in a CNN story last year. “The psychological shock of this unprecedented, accelerated, dizzying and dangerous time has us grasping for our old lives and customs.”

Runs With Scissors is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shop is closed Sundays and Mondays. More information can be found online at

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