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Downtown dress shop cedes corner spot to quilt store on Main Avenue in mutually beneficial switch

Short move

Following a swap of adjacent storefront spaces, Feather Your Nest Quilt Store is now at 130 N. Main Ave., while Bernie Dexter dress shop is immediately south at 126 N. Main Ave.

Feather Your Nest hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Bernie Dexter hours: noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Event: Bernie Dexter's grand re-opening celebration is from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, featuring music and gift bags

Websites: berniedexter.com; featheryournestquiltstore.com

PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Kris Howatt, owner of Feather Your Nest Quilt Store, and Bernie Dexter of her self-named dress shop smile outside their Main Avenue businesses, which recently swapped storefront spaces with each other. About a year ago, adjacent downtown merchants Kris Howatt and Bernie Dexter jokingly talked about how they'd be better off if they swapped their respective Main Avenue storefront business spaces.

Howatt's Feather Your Nest Quilt Store needed more room for material and quilting classes, while Dexter, whose self-named shop has a healthy online customer base, could use a little less back room space.

That offhanded conversation quickly became reality, with Feather Your Nest, on the corner at 130 N. Main Ave., and Bernie Dexter, 126 N. Main Ave., still next door neighbors, just in opposite spaces.

"In the space next door, we were packed — floor to ceiling," said Howatt, pointing toward the mezzanine space she now uses for classes and organizing. "People want to know how to improve (their quilting skills) and we had zero room for classes. We have a little more space now."

The dual move started in September and concluded in mid-October.

Dexter, who opened her fashionably retro dress shop in September 2015, used to use that space to prepare merchandise for shipping. Now the proximity of the Amazon shipping fulfillment center in Troutdale works to her advantage.

"I used a lot of space in back to do shipping," she explained. "I decided to reorganize a bit. I don't need a big, giant space. I don't need to be on the corner. It saves a lot of money."PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Kris Howatt is pleased to have more room to house quilting material as well as teach classes and workshops at her larger location in downtown Gresham.

Plus, Dexter, who initially had two employees, is now content to handle things herself as the front-of-house host.

"Retail across the board is tough," she said. "Working by myself, it's nice to have my hand on it all. It's more important for me to be in touch with customers."

Howatt launched Feather Your Nest with Abbi Howatt, her daughter and business partner, in 2011. They started at a space further south on Main Avenue but moved to the current Bernie Dexter location a year later.

If you think moving next door would be easier, in this case, at least, you'd be wrong.

"This is the first move I've made where the (destination) location wasn't vacant," Kris said.

So she and Dexter had to take turns exchanging items between locations.

"So it was like a domino effect ... We had to do it in bits and pieces."PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Bernie Dexter has sold fashionably retro and bold-patterned dresses and clothing on Main Avenue since September 2015. She is hosting a grand re-opening celebration at her new space on Nov. 14.

Dexter is so pleased with the arrangement she's celebrating with a grand re-opening from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. The event will feature honky-tonk band Wes Youssi and the County Champs, refreshments and Bernie Dexter gift bags to the first 15 people to arrive.

"It's been crazy," Dexter said of all the shuffling. "But this is the kind of space I wanted originally. I am happy with this space."


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