By Kevin Collison
Rightfully Sewn, a non-profit seamstress training and apparel manufacturer, is substantially expanding its Crossroads space and hiring more people thanks to a pair of big new garment contracts.
The expansion however, signals that plans for a gourmet grocery and wine store at the northeast corner of 18th and Wyandotte have fallen through. One of the new Rightfully Sewn locations is where the proposed Savi Provisions had planned to open.
Spencer Sight, the landlord for the building, said backers of the planned Savi franchise first reported last fall by CityScene failed to obtain the necessary financing. Savi operates several gourmet grocer locations in Atlanta.
“It was a disappointment,” Sight said. “It would have been a great addition to the block.”
Attempts to reach the two local business people behind the Savi plan were unsuccessful.
Nonetheless, Sight said he’s pleased to lease the 2,000 square-foot corner space to Rightfully Sewn, which opened across the street in 2018 on the upper floor of a building at 1800 Wyandotte.
“They’ve been a really good community member for awhile and we’re really excited to be part of their expansion and help them grow their cause,” he said.
Rightfully Sewn was established in 2015 to help women who had been homeless, former prostitutes, addicts, victims of abuse or refugees new to this country learn the seamstress trade.
The Crossroads expansion follows the announcement the non-profit has received a contract from Marlow White Uniforms of Leavenworth to manufacture 3,000 custom white shirts per month for dress uniforms manufactured for the U.S. Army.
A second contract was secured to manufacture approximately 1,000 leg warmers and rompers per month for Boston-based dancewear company RubiaWear, according to a Rightfully Sewn press release.
These are the largest contracts in Rightfully Sewn’s history to date.
“We are excited about our new clients and capabilities, and for our new production team members who have joined us over the past month, some of whom graduated from our Seamstress Training Program,” Jennifer Lapka, Rightfully Sewn founder and president said in a statement.
The new contracts will quadruple the Rightfully Sewn production capacity. The additional work will allow the nonprofit to expand into the lower floor of the building at 1800 Wyandotte where it will offer classes.
The space across the street where the gourmet grocer had been proposed will be used to house its patterning and cutting equipment, according to the press release.
New sewing machines and other production equipment will be required.
Private donors and Kansas City-based foundations, including the Sunderland Foundation and Hallmark Corporate Foundation, have supported Rightfully Sewn’s fundraising campaign for build-out costs and equipment thus far.
Due to the increased workload, Rightfully Sewn has hired 12 seamstresses recently and is looking to hire 10 more. Details can be found here.
Rightfully Sewn was acquired by non-profit Alphapointe in October 2020 and operates as a subsidiary, according to the press release.
Alphapointe’s operations including plastic and garment manufacturing. The firm manages Rightfully Sewn’s administrative services and guides its manufacturing practices.
“This young organization was in a position for growth, so it has been rewarding and exhilarating for us to share our industry expertise and see an immediate impact,” Reinhard Mabry, Alphapointe president and CEO, said in a statement.
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