Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Title and firm: Jaxine Andersen is the owner of Rain Tree Quilting.

Services: The company sells quilting fabrics (there is a difference between quilting and other fabrics), quilt patterns, kits and sewing machines. Sewing machine repair and quilting classes are also offered.

The store even sells mystery novels with quilting themes.

Biographical information: Andersen was into the hobby "big time" and was frustrated that there was no place in town to buy fabrics or other quilting items. She said she told her friends she was interested in opening a store.

"They kept bugging me, 'When you going to do it? When you going to do it? When you going to do it?'" she said.

Three years ago she opened the store in the Airport Mini Mall.

"I knew absolutely nothing about retail," she said.

Andersen's background is teaching. She hired a store manager to run the shop while she did the books and oversaw the operation. Last summer, Andersen retired from teaching first grade for Alyeska Central School, a state-run correspondence school.

"So now I am just trying to fit in," she joked. Andersen doesn't have regular hours besides Fridays. The key to the store is having good employees, which allowed her to keep teaching and now allows her more freedom, she said.

The quilting guild in Juneau has about 150 members plus a large number of nonguild quilters. Andersen also gets business from tourists who want Alaska-themed patterns and kits as well as quilters from around Southeast, she said. The company's Web site ( also spurs some inquires.

Andersen also has discovered Juneau residents like bright fabrics. "People need lots of color here," she said.

Family: Andersen, 50, is married to John Andersen, owner of Norcom, a computer business. They have one son, Mathew, 23, who lives in California.

Quotable: Even advanced quilters take classes. Why? "You always learn something new from a new teacher," she said.

Employees: Seven part-time employees.

Contact: Rain Tree Quilting is at 9131 Glacier Highway, Suite 7, in the Airport Shopping Center. The phone is 789-7900.

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