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Missouri quilting company named nation’s top small business

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The brother and sister who started a quilting company in fall of 2008 to help recoup their parents’ lost retiring savings account have received national accolades.

Alan Doan and Sarah Galbraith brought their mother a $40,000 quilting machine after the stock market crash in 2008 cost their father his retiring savings. The efforts to create “a little extra income” for their mother have led to a quilting business (Missouri Star Quilt Company) that has more than 180 employees and takes 5,000 orders each day – all this in the sleepy hamlet of Hamilton, Missouri.

The U.S. Small Business Administration named the siblings the nation’s Small Business Persons of the Year. The SBA helped foster the company’s expansion.

“We just happened on being a quilt shop,” Doan explained.

After he lost his job, he decided to take his mother’s quilt shop global via the Internet. He said the company has sustained 200 percent growth each year since.

“It is kind of daunting,” he said. “But it lets us be really good at what we do.”

Doan says the quilt shop has become tourism for Hamilton, with up to 10,000 visiting the shop during the summer months. Hamilton’s population is less than 2,000.

“Hamilton has not seen that kind of tourism in a long time,” he said.

That has led to other businesses opening in Hamilton, such as a candle maker.

Despite getting national recognition, Doan said the family will stay in Hamilton where the business will continue to grow and spur economic development.

“It is nothing special to us,” he said. “We just do the best we can every day. We are not super heroes. We’re not doing anything magical behind the scenes.”

By DeAnn Smith