Woman turns folk art quilting into a global business in Green

George W Davis

GREEN: From being born in South Africa to creating a global business bright and colorful in its adoption, Green has been a lifelong journey for globetrotting dreamer, quilt, teacher, designer and traveler Sue Spargo.

The founder and CEO of Sue Spargo Folk-Art Quilts at 3755 Boettler Oaks Drive, Suite B, Spargo is proud of all that she, her family, and her staff have accomplished over the past 20 years.

This Sue Spargo quilt, titled

Spargo’s business has grown from a start-up in his basement to a 12,000-square-foot facility with two other locations in between that the business outgrew.

He now has 23 full-time and part-time employees at his one facility, including three of his four children. Daughter Kelly and son Jason are listed as corporate secretaries, with Kelly in charge of the company’s large website and Jason in charge of production. Daughter Aimee is a corporate treasurer and is a graduate of Youngstown State and Cleveland State universities. Son Andrew is a Kent State University alumnus and fashion designer in New York City. Jason and Andrew are graduates of Green High.

Started in her green home in 2002, Sue Spargo's business has grown into a 12,000-square-foot warehouse, a large classroom, offices, and a retail store supplying products around the world.

The mother of four not only grew up in South Africa, but also lived in England, Connecticut, Tennessee and elsewhere before choosing to settle in Green primarily because of Green’s school system’s reputation for quality “and the community quickly felt like at home”. she said.

A nurse in Johannesburg before beginning her global journey, Spargo is a self-taught designer and quilt designer, learning from others and teaching both at home and in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a bit in Europe. Portugal is her next destination, she revealed herself.

Hand-dyed yarns are sold at Green's store.

The artist specializes in hand-dyed wool, wool embroidery and wool appliqué and has a hand-dyed wool shop along with a large classroom, offices, a retail store and a gift shop in her complex, which is Administered by Green High graduate Abby Sexton.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The facility is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Sue Spargo sells kits and booklets on how to make some of her designs, like these pin cushions.

With the brothers handling day-to-day operations, Spargo is able to travel, which he loves, and teach his techniques and design in the US and abroad while seeing the world after classes for one to six days.

Spreading their fame, Spargo and her team use the website, word of mouth, and repeat business to sell their fabrics, including velvets, embroidery materials, gift items, and all other craft supplies for quilters, along with books. She started a block-of-the-month program long before it became so popular, and has published over 25 books on his products and techniques.

Sue Spargo sells unique and vibrantly colored cotton fabrics for quilting at her store in Green.

Spargo explained that many of their supplies are brand name products made in this country, while “we have many different yarns from many places around the world such as Germany, Canada, South Africa and Japan. And we also have our manufactured yarn line that is produced in Asia through a Canadian company.”

Summing up her life, Spargo said, “I feel so lucky to have been able to change my craft from a hobby to a business, and I love every stitch I create. I also love teaching because my students inspire me to learn even more.”

George W. Davis can be reached at mediaman@sssnet.com.

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