Local Focus Lifts Southwest Harbor Embroidery Company

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - It's an embroidery business that has customers around the world, but the woman in charge says it's a focus on their neighbors that has made them a success.

Brian Sullivan visited Maine Point in Southwest Harbor.

It opened in 1988 as Marco Polo.
Sold in 1993, Patti Tinker came on board in 1998.
She bought it in 2004 and started adding some local flavor.

"Fortunately for me, I know a lot of locals," she said, "There wasn't a lot of local business prior to me coming here. We did a lot of boat shows, but the main focus was fender covers and sailboats and yachts."

They do work for major companies and stars - Billy Joel and Phil Donahue have their fender covers...
Even the president.

"I sent Donald Trump fender covers when I bought the business," she said, "He had a yacht down in Florida. I sent them and I wish I kept the thank you card."

The covers are still big business, but local customers keep them going all year round.

"Fender covers we ship all around the world," said Tinker, "I would say fender covers are 80% of the business and the locals are 20, but I will keep that 20% if it keeps me going all winter long."

She added that "It's pretty dead around here in the winter time, so I did a design of someone's lobster boat, offered it to them as a gift and it's taken off. I have a significant amount of local business now."

"Come in with an idea. I'm not an artist and none of us here are artists" she said.

All you need is that idea and they'll do the rest.

Tinker and her two employees make everything in their Southwest Harbor shop.

There is no order too big - or too small. That's what makes them unique.

"I am the only one that does the one off," she said, "Everybody else, there is a bare minimum and I think what is unique about us is that we are open year round. We don't only accommodate the sailboats in the yard. I'm all about the local."

"If you want one baseball hat done, one canvas bag done, one T-shirt, come see us," said Tinker, "You don't have to have 20 pieces or more. Many times moms or wives are doing it as gifts to their husband or children getting their boats digitized so that they are displayed on the back of a sweatshirt or a jacket and it has taken off."

Their slogan reads, Embroidery is the heart of our business.

And at Maine Point it shows.

"I bought the business hoping to employ local women that wanted Monday through Friday, no nights, no weekends," Tinker said "I had little kids at the time and I wanted to be able to go home at night and cook dinner and enjoy things with them. It has turned out to be above and beyond what I expected. I've gotten two kids through college. I have two great women that work for me. A lot less work in the winter time, but we are getting through it and I really couldn't of asked for anything better."

If you are interested in learning more go to www.mainepointfendercovers.com.