BARNETT, Mo. — Located on a family farm since 1999, Top Stitch at 20449 Highway C, provides customers with what experts say is the top-of-the-line sewing machine. Bernina's Swiss-engineered product has been sold by owner Timothy Hoover since 1997.
Customers travel from near and far to flow around the showroom, whose business is the Bernina's third highest seller in the nation.
"We have people coming from all over —Kansas City, St. Louis, Iowa, Arkansas," Hoover said. "Even other dealers come here, because we have stock on-hand, because we buy by the truck load."
He said he attributes his success to good quality products, good service and right pricing. Bernina is a family business on its fourth generation of owners. He said the integrity of their business is similar and he is happy to pass that along to the 800 buyers-a-year who come to his store.
"This brand is very popular; it's the only family-owned business of sewing machines in the world," Hoover said. "I've had other brands, as well. But it just seems like this one here is very supportive to their dealers and, if (we) get the support we should have, then we can also give it to our customers."
A basic Bernina machine costs around $129. After a product is purchased, Top Stitch continues to assist buyers with anything they may need.
"What if that product breaks down? We take care of them. We have parts in stock and we can fix them, usually while they wait, and that's important," Hoover said.
Free classes for how to use the machine, install a zipper, embroider and more are also offered to customers on-site. From starter to top-of-the-line products with extra features, which sell for $12-15,000; people can come ask questions or work on projects together.
"They can have classes as much as they want," employee Karen Leinbach said.
She said teaching the classes and working on the projects is something she often enjoys.
Some machines have digital software that can take an image from a photograph and transfer it to embroidery.
"I feel, if they make a purchase that big, that's as much as a car, and they should have the support and they should never have to pay," Hoover added.
He and his two daughters live on the 100-acre farm with their cows, sheep and chickens.
"I certainly say it's a blessing of the Lord; we try hard, we do the best we can. But without God, we can't do anything. That's what I believe."