A brother-sister team who created a “quilting destination” in Hamilton, Mo., has been named the National Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Alan Doan and his sister Sarah Galbraith, the founders of Missouri Star Quilt Co., were honored Friday with five other finalists at a White House ceremony. The siblings, whose quilting business is about one hour north of Kansas City, also had been named the Missouri Small Business Persons of the Year.
Neither Doan nor Galbraith could be reached for comment Friday.
SBA winners are selected based on criteria such as staying power, growth in the number of employees, increases in sales or unit volume, current and past financial performance and innovativeness of products or services.
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Missouri Star Quilt was started in 2008 on a shoestring budget. The owners bought a quilting machine, supplies and a building just two minutes from their parents’ house.
In 2013, they received an SBA loan to construct a 45,000-square-foot facility for warehousing and shipping, as well as for customer service, sales, and a photo and catalog studio.
Missouri Star Quilt is now spread over 116,365 square feet in 15 buildings. It has 148 workers, making it one of the largest employers in Caldwell County, Mo. It ships out hundreds of packages of precut quilt pieces each day to clients around the world.
“This unique business is a combination of e-commerce and a bustling brick and mortar operation that has brought new life to Hamilton,” Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the SBA, said in a statement. “Quilting tutorials posted on YouTube and hosted by Alan and Sarah’s mother, Jennie, became a big hit.”
Because of their popularity on YouTube, she added, “the brick and mortar shop has become a quilting destination.”
In 2006, the owners of Shatto Farms Inc. in Osborn, Mo., were named second runner-up for the 2006 National Small Business Person of the Year.