Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Madsens retiring from craft business after nearly 40 years

The sign at Madsen's store on West Broadway, which has been open since 1999. Before then, Dale and Pat Madsen were in the Skyline Shopping Center.

After nearly 40 years of hard work and memories, owners Dale and Pat Madsen are retiring.

The Madsens have developed long-lasting relationships with their customers over the years.
Dale is often found on the floor of the store in his signature hat his children gave him several years ago. He’s a definite people person with a frugal nature and good business savvy, Pat said. Plus, he just loves what he does.

Their customers are not happy to see the store go. “We’ve had customers come in and say, ‘We aren’t sure how we are going to get on without you,’” said Dale.

The store as it is today got its start after Dale earned his degree in business management, and he found that working in the Sears management program in Utah wasn’t his cup of tea.

“I wanted to get back to where I grew up,” said Dale, who is originally from the Rigby area.
He and Pat had two small children at the time, and Pat remembers Dale calling her with the news.

“He told me he had quit Sears and had a job in Idaho Falls, and we didn’t even have a place to live yet,” said Pat.

But it all worked out just fine, she added. Dale went to work for the Ben Franklin store in the former Skyline shopping center at the corner of Broadway and Skyline in west Idaho Falls. It was a popular franchise variety store, and Dale thrived there. After four years, he bought the store from the owner.
As the business landscape changed, more people headed to big box stores for variety items, but

Dale’s store had a loyal following of those looking for unique crafts and fabrics. So in 1999, they bought the land and built the building where Madsen’s sits today, changing the name and focus to be crafts, fabric and framing.

“It was a big investment, but it worked out,” said Pat.

These days, Dale directs the day-to-day operations, while Pat takes care of payroll and ordering all of the fabric—a big job by itself, but one she has loved.

“I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old,” she said. “People love our fabric. The quality is different.”

Pat said that the type of sewing people do has changed a lot over the years; many people used to sew their own clothes, but these days it is all about quilting.

“This has become the go-to place for the quilting groups in the area,” said long-time employee Sallie Hobbs.

Hobbs will miss the atmosphere of Madsen’s, where she will spend a lot of time cutting fabric up until closing day.

“Dale is optimistic and honest. It is a good place to work,” she said.

It’s also been a good place for the Madsen family. Dale and Pat have seven children and 24 grandchildren, and they fondly remember raising their children while juggling their time being small-business owners. In fact, the Madsens often brought their children to the store to help out with different things.

“When our kids get together they talk about all the stuff we made them do, like stocking yarn, building bikes, inventory, and building trampolines on Christmas Eve,” Pat said.

Although owning your own business is tough and isn’t something you do if you want to be a millionaire, it has its advantages, the couple said.

“Dale has been able to take the time to coach basketball and baseball,” Pat said.

Now, although Dale and Pat plan to keep their trampoline and swing set business open, they will be able to visit their family more.

“When it’s time to retire, you just know,” Pat said.