OAKHURST — After two decades of trading stitches and stories, Bear Paw Quilts & More – Oakhurst’s only specialty sewing and fabric store – is shutting its doors.
Local seamstresses, quilters and other needle-and-thread hobbyists are hoping the closure is not permanent.
“The store will be closed after Saturday [June 29], at least until a new buyer steps in,” says Bonnie McClintock, a former partner at Bear Paw who is helping run the store in the final days before it closes.
During Henning’s absence from day-to-day operations at the store, located at 40761 Highway 41, her former partner and close friend McClintock has stepped in to help with the transition.
“Donna is trying to recover from cancer surgery,” McClintock explains. “She can’t leave the house right now.”
So Henning’s friends, including McClintock, have been helping run the store.
“We are liquidating everything,” McClintock said.
McClintock says Henning does have a potential buyer interested in keeping the shop going.
“I can’t go into too much detail right now, but they are thinking they might be able to reopen by August.”
For the last week, the store has been running a liquidation sale — with all of the remaining inventory 35 percent off.
“We are getting pretty low,” McClintock says.
Displays and all the fixtures in the store will “remain for the new owners,” she adds, “although people have been coming in wanting to buy them.”
In her most recent Facebook post, Henning held out hope a sale will happen. “We do have [someone] looking at buying it,” she said. “But nothing is for sure yet.”
“Thank you all for your 20 years of support and friendships,” Henning added. “We will miss all of you.”
A number of local groups have gathered regularly at the store for sessions of “sew and tell,” including the Oakhurst Embroidery Club and the Oakhurst Neighborhood Group of the American Sewing Guild, which recently completed a project making receiving blankets, bibs and shoulder cloths for young mothers and their babies at the Madera County Crisis Center.
Sierra Mountain Quilters Association also met at the shop. That group just hosted their 2019 Quilt Show “A Needle Pulling Thread” on May 18 and 19 at the Oakhurst Community Center.
“As soon as the new owners take over, the [various local sewing] groups will probably be able to come back here and meet again. At least that’s what we’re hoping,” McClintock says.