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31 Years and Still Sewing

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By JEAN GARDNER, Beacon Correspondent

Cedar Key Canvas was started in 1986 by Carmen and Reed Proctor. It was first opened on Second Street in downtown Cedar Key. It has been in business for 31 years.

The store is now located at 4051 D Street where Cedar Key Canvas offers variety of unique products that include purses, duffel bags and a bag for jumper cables.

Julie Gore and Sharon Ingram came to Cedar Key to escape the crowded hustle and bustle of big city life. Julie is originally from Atlanta and came to Cedar Key in 1981 with her parents. Sharon relocated to Cedar Key in 1979 from the St. Petersburg area.

Julie was hired to work the service counter and Sharon was hired as a part time seamstress. In fact, Sharon also drove a school bus and worked the ambulance service. If there was not a call, she parked the ambulance outside the store until needed.

In 1996, the Proctors sold Cedar Key Canvas to Joseph and Lia Hatin and in 2009, the Hatins offered the store to Julie and Sharon who eagerly took advantage of because as Sharon said, “We love what we do.”

They are the sole operators of the business and do not foresee any future expansion as they wish to maintain the quality of their products.

Julie said, “The biggest complaint we have is that our things don’t wear out”.

The materials used to create their designs are canvas, tapestries, cordura, and upholstery fabric. When Julie and Sharon took over the business there were pre-set designs but they have since added on four original designs of their own that include the Side Kick and the Day Tripper. They work with customers to add any desired modifications to designs.

This is truly a team effort, Julie cuts the patterns and Sharon does the sewing. The patrons that frequent this store are not limited to island visitors and residents. Cedar Key Canvas also exports their products to Japan, which is a bi-annual project occurring in November and May.

This venture, which began with emails from a distributor seeking their products, has been quite successful for the duo for almost six years. At first, they thought the email was a scam until the distributor finally contacted them by telephone. Early on they received a single order for 1,900 bags, which proved to be quite overwhelming as the products are handmade.

The order took four and a half months to complete. The products range in the amount of time it takes to complete each one. A purse takes about 45 minutes to complete and a piece of luggage takes about three and a half hours to complete.

Please visit their web site at http://www.ckcanvas.com/products.html to see their fine craftsmanship or if in Cedar Key for a visit, please be sure to stop by Julie and Sharon’s store to see their unique products in person. The store hours are 9-5 Monday-Saturday and 10-5 on Sundays. The telephone number is (800) 729-0297 or (352) 543-5198. By Jean Gardner, Beacon Correspondent

Julie Gore and Sharon Ingram opened Cedar Key Canvas in 1986 and have been in operation for 31 years. Carmen and Reed Proctor first opened the store on Second Street in downtown Cedar Key.

The store is now located at 4051 D Street where Cedar Key Canvas offers a variety of unique products that include purses, duffel bags and a bag for jumper cables.

Julie and Sharon came to Cedar Key to escape the crowded hustle and bustle of big city life. Julie is originally from Atlanta and came to Cedar Key in 1981 with her parents. Sharon relocated to Cedar Key in 1971 from the St. Petersburg area.

Julie was hired to work the service counter and Sharon was hired as a part-time seamstress. In fact, Sharon also drove a school bus and worked the ambulance service. If there was not a call, she parked the ambulance outside the store until needed.

In 2009, the Proctors retired from the business and offered Julie and Sharon the opportunity to purchase it, which they eagerly took advantage of because, as Sharon said, “We love what we do.”

They are the sole operators of the business and do not foresee any future expansion, as they wish to maintain the quality of their products.

Julie said, “The biggest complaint we have is that our things don’t wear out”.

The materials used to create their designs are canvas, tapestries, cordura, and upholstery fabric. When Julie and Sharon took over the business there were pre-set designs but they have since added on four original designs of their own that include the Side Kick and the Day Tripper. They work with customers to add any desired modifications to designs.

This is truly a team effort: Julie cuts the patterns and Sharon does the sewing. The patrons that frequent this store are not limited to island visitors and residents. Cedar Key Canvas also exports their products to Japan, which is a bi-annual project occurring in November and May.

This venture, which began with emails from a distributor seeking their products, has been quite successful for the duo for almost six years. At first, they thought the email was a scam until the distributor finally contacted them by telephone. Early on they received a single order for 1,900 bags, which proved to be quite overwhelming as the products are handmade.

The order took four and a half months to complete. The products range in the amount of time it takes to complete each one. A purse takes about 45 minutes to complete and a piece of luggage takes about three and a half hours to complete.

Please visit their web site at http://www.ckcanvas.com/products.html to see their fine craftsmanship or if in Cedar Key for a visit, please be sure to stop by Julie and Sharon’s store to see their unique products in person. The store hours are 9-5 Monday-Saturday and 10-5 on Sundays. The telephone number is (800) 729-0297 or (352) 543-5198.