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A lot of good things have been happening at Julie Gore and Sharon Ingram’s shop, Cedar Key Canvas lately – some good and some even better.
Unbeknownst to Julie, a customer (her mother) nominated the shop for a made in America contest sponsored by ABC’s World News with Dianne Sawyer. Her mother did eventually mention it but the women both forgot about the nomination. That is, until the day a producer from the show called and left a message that they had made the cut.
Julie admits that she “kept the message for a long time” before finally deleting it, but until she spoke to the man in person, she wasn’t sure it was for real. The contest’s goal was to bring attention to businesses that make their products primarily out of American made products – in America and their shop fit the bill.
Because there are no looms in the U.S. that still weave canvas, their primary fabric is woven overseas, however it is dyed and finished in the U.S. But almost all the rest of the items they buy are – such as thread, zippers, pulls, rope and webbing for handles.
Around the same time as the ABC call, an email came in from someone in Japan, inquiring into placing an order with the shop for sample bags and possibly future wholesale orders. The ladies had been burned before with overseas orders and despite repeated emails, they had no intention of responding – until the man gave up on emails and finally called them directly.
Enter one good credit card and a new business relationship was born.
Now, the little shop that is housed in the old Key Motel on State Road 24 is sewing bags by the hundreds and boxing them up for a one-way trip to Japan.
They have had repeat orders from high end distributors and they make sure to put their “Made in Cedar Key” tags in each one – with their toll free number of course.