Local business recipient of COVID-19 small business grant

Southern Star Quilting is located at 1104 Gault Ave N, Fort Payne. 

Southern Star Quilting, also known as The Little Rag Quilt, of Fort Payne was selected by GlobalGiving as a Red Backpack Fund Recipient, to receive a $5,000 grant from The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation to combat the COVID-19 crisis.

Sandra Thomas, owner of Southern Star Quilting, said they recently moved locations from Trenton, Georgia, to Fort Payne.

Thomas said when they signed the lease on their new location in Fort Payne, the tornadoes hit and their store faced some flooding damage.

Initially, Southern Star Quilting was set to open its doors for business on February 1, however, after the flood setback, the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“We could not open, but we were still making masks and today we have made over 10,000 masks for essential businesses, government agencies and the public,” said Thomas.

One thousand six hundred fifty masks were provided for EPB of the Chattanooga area after tornadoes destroyed a significant part of the power and fiber optics on April 12, 2020.

Thomas said once they were ready to open their doors, the inventory was depleted due to the 10,000 masks they had made.

On June 12, 2020, GlobalGiving announced Southern Star Quilting had been selected to receive a $5,000 COVID-19 relief and recovery grant from The Red Backpack Fund. The grant provides an opportunity for small businesses and nonprofits made possible by The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation.

Spanx Founder Sara Blakely said she hopes that this gift will alleviate some of the pressure caused by this horrible pandemic.

“Twenty years ago, I started Spanx with $5,000 in savings, and I see this as a time to pay it forward. Small business is the backbone of our culture. I know what it’s like to be a small business owner, and I want to provide some relief to these entrepreneurs during this time,” said Blakely.

According to the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, the foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund.

Thomas said the grant would help replenish and replace some of the material and supplies they had used up before their opening.

As stated by GlobalGiving, thousands of business owners and nonprofit founders from across the United States and its territories applied to receive a grant from The Red Backpack Fund to combat economic hardship caused by COVID-19. Southern Star Quilting was selected for the grant based on its outstanding application, its urgent need for COVID-19 relief, and its demonstrated capacity to overcome COVID-19 setbacks.

“We are currently selling masks at our store, and we always have some on hand,” she said.

Regarding their move to Fort Payne, Thomas said, “it’s been wonderful besides the setbacks.”

“We are still pushing pretty hard and the community has been great. Business is finally starting to come through the door,” she said.

With enough stock on their shelves, Southern Star Quilting officially opened its doors last week.

Operating hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thomas said they also take orders online. For additional information visit them on Facebook @TheLittleRagQuilt.

The fabric store offers quilting supplies, quilting services, notions, custom sewing, patterns, Jelly Rolls, custom manufacturing, books and magazines.

Thomas said in the upcoming months, they would also offer sewing classes.

GlobalGiving is a 501(c) (3) organization with nearly two decades of grantmaking experience and will award grants to at least 1,000 women entrepreneurs from not through September 2020 through The Red Backpack Fund.

According to GlobalGiving, they have assembled a 100 percent women-led team to lead the grantee selection process. The team includes grant specialists, social workers, female entrepreneurs, analysts and monitoring and evaluation experts.

“We’re proud to announce the grantees of The Red Backpack Fund. They have successfully undergone GlobalGiving’s rigorous vetting process, and we believe this grant will help them continue to thrive, despite the shifting economic circumstances brought on by this crisis,” said GlobalGiving CEO Alix Guerrier.

According to the Spanx Foundation, since its inception in 2006, the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has donated millions to charities worldwide, focusing on charities that empower underserved women and girls.

Southern Star Quilting is located at 1104 Gault Ave N in Fort Payne. The phone number is 256-601-4421.

To learn more about The Red Backpack Fund, visit www.globalgiving.org/redbackpackfun.

To learn more about the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation mission, visit www.spanxfoundation.com.

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