Needle Nicely was started in the northwestern mountains of North Carolina by Trubey Walker and Peggy Rente in approximately 1971. Peggy soon returned to Miami to start the Naughty Needle.
I met Trubey in about 1975 when I learned to needlepoint. Eventually I became the manager of Needle Nicely. In 1981 business was so good that people with business knowledge advised Trubey that it was time to either go big or go home. That encouraged Trubey to investigate business opportunities in other locations. Since she was originally from Miami and her parents still lived there, but were aging and wanted to leave Miami; a location in mid- to northern Florida would be an ideal location. Voila! Vero Beach.
The decision was made over the 4th of July, 1981, to look for a location in Vero Beach with expectations to open one year in the future. That next week I talked with our framer (Royal Palm Frame Shop), who had moved from Boone, NC, back to Vero Beach; and mentioned that we were going to start looking in Vero. The next week she called me with the information that a shop was closing in the Village Shops and perhaps we could rent that, but it was available at once. Trubey and her father flew to Vero immediately, saw the location and rented it on the spot. That meant that we would open in October, 1981--not 1982 as we had originally intended.
In 1981 there were very few metallics available. Trubey discovered a company in New York that produced metallics in different thicknesses and sold them by the gross yards (144 yds) on spools. We had a local carpenter make a rack with spindles that held 2 double-sides of metallics and swiveled. When we decided to open a Florida location, we needed a new rack. Our carpenter misjudged his finish date (don't they all?), and our new rack was ready after Trubey had departed for Vero. I was staying in Blowing Rock to keep the shop open for the "leaf" season. I had just completed stitching an orchid bench which Hunt Galleries (regrettably now out of business) in Hickory, NC, manufactured for us. It was too large to be shipped via UPS in those days (today, no problem). That was also a tad tardy, so I drove a Scout to Vero with the bench and my belongings in the rear compartment and the metallic rack for metallics wrapped in cardboard and plastic on the roof of the Scout. I drove behind Trubey's mother and father to Charleston for the first night and then, the next day, on to Vero Beach. This was before the days of cell phones, and at a light on the mainland of Vero, Bill Walker drove through a yellow light that changed before I could get through it. I could see Zoe convincing him he had to pull over, because I had never been to Vero and had no clue about which way to go. Thank goodness, he pulled over. We then proceeded to the barrier island to what was then the Howard Johnson hotel on the beach.
This is a picture of the orchid bench which I stitched during 1981 and drove to Vero Beach. I don't have a photograph of the metallic rack--the one from Blowing Rock we sold to a friend of us who had a shop in Miami Shores (Peggy at Naughty Needle) after we moved to Vero permanently, and the other stayed behind at the shop location on Royal Palm when we moved so quickly after Hurricane Wilma. Since we no long sell metallic by the yard, it was redundant; though I still have the leftover spools of metallic. Someday I'll think of a way to package them for sale.