I think every quilter has their favorite quilt shop, I know that I do. Hands down Birdseye Mercantile in Avon, Montana is mine. Nestled along the Little Blackfoot River, just west of the MacDonald Pass section of the Continental Divide you will find this treasure of a shop. It is housed in a little stone building that once served as a general store for the tiny town of Avon (current population a little over 100).
This unique shop is currently owned and operated by Bill and Jill McIntosh and their family. You will find most of your quilting needs here and you will also find antiques. I know, it doesn’t sound like the two of them should go together, but they do, take a look for yourself:
As you enter the store, it’s as if you have been transported back in time.
Furniture, household goods and sundries from a bygone age are set up in such a way that you feel like you are guest and tea will be served momentarily.
You may have memories of owning some of these things from your own childhood, or perhaps they remind you of going home to grandma’s house.
Almost everything in the store is for sale, from furniture…
…to the books.
As you meander towards the back of the shop, you begin to see the transition from antiques to quilts.
It really is quite homey, just ask one of the cats that reside here.
An antique shop case is filled with fat quarter packs and jelly roll eye candy. You don’t need to wait for assistance though, feel free to go behind the counter and help yourself.
This vintage case below is for show only. The candy that is displayed in the glass front is for display purposes only, but it still makes you feel like a kid in a candy store.
Sundries, many from local artisans, can be purchased here as well.
Then we get to the real reason for this post: The fabric.
I love the way she has set prices for the fabrics instead of pricing each bolt separately.
Jill has managed to integrate everything in the store in such a way, that you actually feel like you are back in the 1920’s or 30’s, and you just came in to purchase some flour and a few yards of fabric for a new dress.
You can also find new quilts for sale here as well as some antique ones.
Take a look at this Trip Around The World quilt. It’s gorgeous! At one time I measured the squares and if memory serves me correctly, they are 1″ x 1″.
Her batik section looks small, but I can assure you there is a lot of fabric in this little corner of the store. This is where I purchased all the fabric for my grandsons Hawaii quilt.
The little cupboard you see with the door open is filled with depression era fabrics.
There is fabric for everything.
If you are looking for reproduction fabrics, Birdseye Mercantile is the place to go. If Jill doesn’t have it she will try and order it for you. If you know what you are looking for and you are not in the Avon area, you can go to their website at www.birdseyemecantile.com and order it or send her an eMail.
There is even a little room at the back of the store where you can find seasonal fabrics year round.
These are some of my favorites which I just might go back for.
While you wait for your fabrics to be cut, stop and rest yourself by the wood stove. It’s warm and inviting this time of year.
Or maybe take a look at the wonderful array of yarns that Birdseye has to offer. I believe most, it not all the yarn here is made by local artisans.
To complete your Birdseye Mercantile experience they will even place your purchases in a bag that has been printed with old sales ads.
Before you leave though, you need to make one last stop and that is to the vintage Coca-Cola machine that stands next to the door. Yes it does work and yes you can purchase a bottle. The day that I was there, bottles of Orange Crush were chilling inside. In the past however, I have purchased the best Cream Soda from here.
I would like to add that the foundation for any great business is customer service. If you have been following my blog for a while now, you know that I am a stickler for great customer service. I don’t care how nice a shop is or how large their selection is, if their customer service is poor, than I will take my business elsewhere. Birdseye is one of those places where customers want to drive the extra miles to get there. They can browse, shop and chat with the owners and other customers like they are old friends. That is priceless.
There you have it, my favorite quilt store and one of the best kept secrets of Montana. If you happen to be passing through the area during your summer travels, please try to stop by here, you won’t be sorry. They are open Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday’s 12pm-4pm. You can also find them online at www.birdseyemercantile.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Birdseye-Mercantile-782297761929087/
I hope you have enjoyed the photographic journey. I hope it has brought back memories for you and perhaps even inspired you in some way.