A Granddaughter Hopes to Continue Her Grandfather’s Business

by | Aug 29, 2015 | Business

By Susan Larson. Photo (L to R) Chris Austin, Amber Grenke and Mattie Grenke performed a free puppet show in downtown Fredericksburg. Amber wants to continue her Grandfather’s business.

It’s been announced the store is closing, but some family members hope to keep The Toy Store – Quilts ‘N Treasures part of downtown Fredericksburg.

Ron Dennis, owner of the store, died in April 2015. His wife is closing the store. Ron’s granddaughter Amber, 21, wants to acquire the store and continue running it in downtown Fredericksburg. She’s started a GoFundMe account Help Save My Family Business.

Help Save My Family Business
“The store will be closing soon, by the end of August, unless I’m able to raise enough money to purchase the business license, display shelves, and merchandise from my step-grandmother, along with new merchandise and the lease for a new location,” Amber writes on her page. “My step-grandmother no longer wants to own the store and wants to close it down so that she can move out of state. I would get a loan, but because I’m at such a young age, and do not have a cosigner, the banks have denied me.”

A Tough Time
Amber’s mother Cindy Grenke, Ron’s daughter, has worked in the store her entire life. “I raised my children here,” she said. Amber started working there when she was just days old, they joked.

We’re not going out of business because of no business,” she said. “Our relationships with customers and vendors are strong.”

Amber realized when she was 12 that it was her dream to one day run her Grandfather’s store. “I love being downtown and being part of the local family,” she said. “I don’t want to stop working here.”

In the midst of all this, Cindy is battling stage-four cancer. It’s a tough time.

How it All Started
Ron Dennis and his sister Mimi started Quilts ‘n Treasures in 1987. Two situations in the 1990s brought a shift in their focus on antique quilts. “Chinese quilts — we call them toenail catchers — flooded the market in the ’90s,” Cindy said. People could not get their head around paying for a quilt that took a year to make by hand versus a cheap quilt with stitches so big they snag on your toe nails, she said.

About that time The Rocking Horse Gallery decided to sell their toy inventory and focus solely on being a gallery. The family bought the inventory and added The Toy Store to the name.

Closing Soon
Cindy and Amber are at the store, selling the inventory at sale prices. Customers come by and offer their encouragement. It’s Cindy’s hope that her daughter’s dream will become reality.

Editor’s Note: The following was received via email on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The information I reported in the story is from a personal interview. I am including Ms. Dennis’ information below, per her request. “My name is Martha Dennis. I am the owner of Quilts-n-Treasures, the Toy Store, and have been, as a sole proprietor, since 1994. My late husband, Ron Dennis, did not own the shop. Please correct your article to reflect this fact.”

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