MANCHESTER - While much angst and attention have been focused on the town's vacant storefronts in recent years, a few new businesses are hanging out the shingles.

Normally springtime is seen as the season for growth and new beginnings, but this year in Manchester summertime seems to be a time when new businesses are opening their doors. From lingerie to custom alterations and quilting, a handful of new businesses are opening up throughout the town.

Fran Boucher, owner of The Pin Cushion on Depot Street, has been sewing and quilting almost her entire life; she has been sewing since she was nine years-old and she got into the quilting business approximately 30 years ago.

"I have the best of both worlds," Boucher said.

Joy Slusarek, of the JOY lingerie boutique, has opened the doors of a new business in town. A handful of newer businesses have begun to make their presence
Joy Slusarek, of the JOY lingerie boutique, has opened the doors of a new business in town. A handful of newer businesses have begun to make their presence known in Manchester. (Connie Blatchford Photo)
"Quilting is my love and passion, and alterations are what makes me money."

This is not Boucher's first store, but it is her first venture in the state of Vermont. Previously, she ran stores in Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

"So far, we're doing much better than when we were in Tennessee," she said. "We have had a very warm reception here."

Her decision to come up to Vermont was a recent one, sparked by a winter trip to Arlington to visit family members.

"We came [to visit] in December and decided that it was maybe time to move closer," she said. "We moved to Manchester in March."

Boucher said that their store is a mixture of things, featuring not just sewing services but also supplies needed to make quilts at home such as fabric, batting, and thread.


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"We have all kinds of things... anything related to sewing," Boucher said. "We also have fabric by the yard or by the piece."

At the time of the interview, Boucher was working on a patch to fix a hole in a pair of pants, but mentioned that she does more than take in, or out, seams and patch holes. Her alterations can even include household items such as curtains.

The hours of the Pin Cushion are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on Wednesdays when they are closed. On weekends, she is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Boucher expressed that the best way to reach her with questions would be to either call the store at 802-855-3277, or by walking in to their store at 306 Depot St.

Joy Slusarek opened up JOY: All things under things because she wanted to provide Manchester with something that it was lacking - a store for women's bras, lingerie, panties, shapewear and accessories.

"I've never owned a lingerie shop before, but I knew friends who had dreams to open one," said Slusarek. "I really wanted to serve people who live here... and I kept hearing from women they didn't like their options... having to go to Rutland to buy a bra."

Slusarek opened the doors of JOY on Saturday, June 29 with much success; she saw many customers that weekend and even had one of what she called a "fashion emergency."

"We have an after-hours number where you can call if you're having a fashion emergency," she said. "If you're going to a wedding and you forgot a strapless bra, or if you're traveling and packing at 8 p.m. and you don't have a slip... you can call the number after we're closed."

Slusarek offers a service in her store that may be hard to find in other lingerie shops: She has gone through multiple bra-fitter training in different locations, including the Eveden Bra Fit School in New York City.

"Our customers can shop with confidence," she said. "You aren't just picking a bra off a plastic hangar."

Slusarek said that everything came together out of the simple idea that nearly every woman wears a bra.

"Preteen daughters need their first bra... people need bras just for comfort" she said. "People need nursing bras... they need a place to go that isn't Victoria's Secret."

The list of items that can be found in the store is one that is almost all-encompassing, from everyday bras to fancy bras with matching panties, to strapless and nursing bras. They also offer sleepwear, robes, shapewear, slips, and hosiery.

JOY has what they call a Bridal Boutique Corner, where brides-to-be and her bridesmaids can purchase items for the wedding.

The atmosphere of the store is one that is relaxed yet fun; there is a sitting area where friends, family members, or anyone who is accompanying the shopper can sit down while the other shops.

JOY, whose playful logo designed by local graphic artist Holly Mirenda, features a bra and panties within the letters, is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:50 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For fashion emergencies when the store is not open, call 1-855-684-JOY1 (5691). For normal business hours, call 802-362-BRAS (2727). They can also be found on the web at joyallthingsunderthings.com.