PRAIRIE GROVE -- Sharon Hemsley has closed her Vintage HeartFelt Creations quilting shop after receiving a cease and desist order from the city of Prairie Grove but still plans to use her space for classes and sewing.
She said she was shocked to receive the letter and sad to close the shop. But Hemsley said she takes full responsibility.
"We had so much business so fast, I just lost control," Hemsley said.
Vintage HeartFelt Creations had been a working quilt shop located in Hemsley's garage on Neal Street.
In a letter dated Nov. 21, Larry Oelrich, director of public works and administrative services, told Hemsley her shop was not in compliance with the city's zoning ordinance.
"This letter serves as your notice to cease operation immediately from 138 N. Neal St., the letter said.
Oelrich reminded Hemsley that she applied for a conditional use permit to operate a business in a residential district but it was determined her plans did not qualify for a home occupational in a residential zone.
The letter continued, "After a few months of discussion back and forth you decided to rescind your request, and indicated you would look for space in a downtown retail location as well as have four 'yard sales' per year from your home location."
Oelrich wrote that it appeared business activity was continuing from Hemsley's home address based on signage, social media posts and contact with the newspaper.
He encouraged Hemsley to contact him if she wanted to pursue other options.
Hemsley said she has sold her business to a quilting friend, Linda Crandell of Gravette and hopes to have everything resolved for closure by the first of the year. She said she will continue to work with Crandell on projects. In addition, she said a quilting group has asked to meet in her shop.
In the long run, closing the shop is probably for the best, Hemsley said, because of her health. She had received so many orders for quilts and other projects that she said she was having to work every day and it was affecting her health.
In an email last week, Oelrich said he hated to close the shop but the city has to "play within the rules given us. If anyone could just start up a retail business in their yard, anywhere in town, we might as well just do away with zoning laws all together."General News on 12/25/2019