Philly's Comeback: Butcher's Sew Shop weaves virtual and in-person learning together

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Butcher's Sew Shop in Philadelphia is finally able to teach in-person classes again. The pandemic forced a pause on in-person learning, but the desire to learn was always there.

"Learning a new skill, it can be very empowering especially at a time where people are very isolated, and they can kind of have some control back in their lives," says quilting and sewing instructor Emily Coleman.

Sixty-three-year-old student Jeffrey Patrick won't shy away from an adventure or a challenge.

"Sitting at home during the pandemic, it gives you time to think, 'How can I better myself? How can I recreate myself?'" said Patrick.

That's how he ended up at Butcher's Sew Shop.

For the owner of the Bella Vista learning center, reinvention during the pandemic was the only way to survive.

"We have people as far as Hawaii joining our virtual classes. In that way I think it's strengthened our business model," says owner Mali Petherbridge.

When the doors of Butcher Sew Shop closed, a transition to the non-traditional kept them afloat, like offering Zoom classes, at-home DIY kits and mail subscriptions.

"Honestly it's made me a better teacher. I've learned how to say everything five different ways," said Coleman.

Now 13 months into the pandemic, the Butcher's Sew Shop is back, buzzing with the sound of active sewing machines. In-person learning and after-school and virtual school camps have returned.

"I really see us maintaining this hybrid model of virtual and in-person learning," says Petherbridge.

Camp season is proving to be lucrative for Butcher's Sew Shop. Petherbridge says the majority of summer spots are already taken.
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