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For one Montevideo woman, there's absolutely no place like home to start her 'dream' business

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For one Montevideo woman, there's absolutely no place like home to start her 'dream' business
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MONTEVIDEO -- Celeste Suter followed the maxim "location is everything'' not in choosing where to open a business, but where she and her husband Mark wanted to raise their children and live.

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They left the Twin Cities for his hometown of Montevideo nearly two decades ago.

Fortunately for her, she is also finding Montevideo to be the right place to start a business.

Three years ago, Suter turned her life-long passion for the fiber arts into a business, opening Celestial Designs in downtown Montevideo. Celestial Designs offers a unique opportunity to purchase yarns made from locally raised fibers, as well as fair trade yarns spun in places all over the globe.

Suter said her work in the fiber arts had acquainted her with many in western Minnesota and beyond who are raising sheep, llamas and alpacas on a small scale. "There was a need for some way of marketing the wool,'' she said.

Suter washes, spins, cards and dyes the raw fibers to create a wide variety of colorful and wonderfully textured yarns that can be found no where else.

She said that seeing a need in Montevideo prompted her to take the risk and open a retail outlet, which is also stocked with all the necessities of the needle arts.

Her own passion dates to her childhood years in Phoenix. She started to crotchet on her own and quickly discovered that she loved its creative opportunities as much as the hand work. Today, she has progressed to the point that she has developed more than 40 of her own patterns and is looking to publish them in a book.

Suter said she is still "finding her voice'' in her art, but there is no doubt she is already being heard. Her talents have made her location a popular destination during the annual Meander, Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl. She has also won recognition for her Renaissance Festival costumes. And, creative wool "pelts'' she designed that depict the animals that were important to Minnesota's early history won the attention of the Minnesota Sesquicentennial committee.

Suter said there has been a resurgence of interest in knitting, crocheting and sewing in recent years and that overall, she believes the market is still growing slowly. She's also working to build its future. She holds an elementary education degree, and devotes time to teaching these arts to young people.

To sell her products, Suter has reached out to a broader market than her store alone can provide. She takes her handwork goods and fiber products to shows across Minnesota and into neighboring states.

The shows are important to the success of her business venture, but Suter remains committed to the brick-and-mortar store. She holds a part-time job, is active in a range of volunteer activities and staffs the store six days a week.

She acknowledges her business and its focus on locally raised and produced works would likely have access to a much larger market were it located in a metro. But a move to a bigger market is not part of her business plan. "I couldn't get to live in this community,'' she said.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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