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BERNINA of America Honors Outstanding Dealers at BERNINA University

Aurora, IL. – July 28, 2009 – During its recent BERNINA University dealer training conference in San Francisco, BERNINA of America recognized top dealers nationwide with awards based on achievements in sales, service and customer education.

Rhonda Lopez, owner of Nuttall’s Inc. in Salt Lake City, received the most prestigious Dealer award: the 2008 BERNINA Presidential Award. This award is given to the Dealer who best exemplifies the sharing and giving attitudes so important to the BERNINA brand image. It also recognizes an aggressive approach to promoting and advertising the entire BERNINA product line, a modern store merchandising concept, a well-developed educational approach, dedication to total customer service and above-average growth in dollar sales and BERNINA units.

“Our company success matches the success of our Dealers. Nuttall’s, Inc. has demonstrated truly outstanding sales and customer support,” said Martin Favre, president of BERNINA of America. “Owner Rhonda Lopez serves as a model of success for other BERNINA Dealers to emulate. Her outstanding sales efforts and first-class customer service exemplify the attitudes so important to the BERNINA brand image.”

While honored to receive the award, Lopez said it wasn’t the most exciting thing that happened to her during BERNINA University.

“I was so energized by all the younger people who were in attendance, and the interest in the business they brought with them,” Lopez said. “To the dealers who haven’t taken the time to engage these folks, you are missing out on a great opportunity to understand not only how to attract that age group to your store as customers, but also what makes them tick as employees. After all, we aren’t getting any younger and we need to be passing our business knowledge on to the younger generation.”

BERNINA University is designed to support Dealers’ continuing education and facilitate information sharing needs. It also incorporates updates on new products and promotional programs, as well as information about business and Internet developments. This year’s BERNINA University drew more than 750 attendees.

“There’s so much to do at BU, I hardly knew what to do with myself,” said Dawn Maher of Sun Valley Quilts in Sun Valley, Ariz. “One afternoon, two of my staffers and I played hooky so we could go in search of this four-story fabric store. We blended right into the local flavor of downtown San Francisco, with shopping bags and Starbucks coffee in hand. What a treat. I felt like a kid again.


“I came home renewed and ready to leap forward with BERNINA once again.”

In addition, BERNINA single- and multiple-store Dealerships with the highest sales dollar volume during 2008 were honored. The 2008 Top Five Multi-Store Dealer Awards were presented to:

  • Rhonda Lopez, owner of Nuttall’s, Inc. in Salt Lake City
  • Judy and John Curtis, owners of It’s A Stitch BERNINA in Humble, Texas
  • Jack Pierce, owner of Atlanta Sewing Center in Duluth, Ga.
  • Joel and Michael Greenzaid, owners of G. Street Fabrics in Rockville, Va.
  • John Ramsey, owner of BERNINA of Oklahoma City

The 2008 Top Five Single-Store Dealer Awards were given to:

  • Ervin and Ella Mae Zimmerman, owners of Hinkletown Sewing Machine Shop in Ephrata, Pa.
  • Richard and Rod Borget, owners of Dave’s BERNINA in Provo, Utah
  • Leon and Mary Hoover, owners of Hoover’s BERNINA Sew in Mifflinberg, Pa.
  • Jill and Henry Reicks, owners of Pine Needles Sewing Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Timothy Hoover, owners of Top Stitch Sewing Service in Barnett, Mo.

The 2008 Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Sew In Heaven, operated by Suzette Bowen, in Holiday Island, Ark. This award recognizes the Dealer from the Class of 2007 who best incorporated into their operation the lessons of the BERNINA Dealer training program, as well as the achievements in 2008 sales volume, market share, and dedication to providing a fully- and well-merchandised location, and strong customer service and educational support.

“The BERNINA New Dealer Training program is designed to educate and motivate our newest members,” said Favre. “We are happy to recognize Suzette Bowen for all of the hard work and dedication she put into her Dealership to ensure her first year with BERNINA was such a success.”

BERNINA of America also announced 2008 District Dealer of the Year Award winners from the company’s 11 districts. This award recognizes Dealers with positive sales momentum and an aggressive approach to promoting and advertising the entire BERNINA product line, a modern and evolving store merchandising concept and dedication to total customer service. Award winners included:

  • Lisa Stevens, owner of Once Upon A Quilt in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Laura Livingston, owner of Beth’s Creative Stitchery in Columbus, Ohio
  • Kris Houghtaling, owner of Viking Sewing Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Steve Chubin, owner of Steve’s Sewing, Vacuum and Quilting in King of Prussia, Pa.
  • Mary Solomon, owner of Cross Patches in Collinsville, Ill.
  • Susan, Steve and Audra Lowery, owners of Sewing Faith- BERINA in Richmond, Va.
  • Lori and Doug Gano, owners of The Sewing Nook, in Amarillo, Texas
  • Fay and Leigh Harrison, Bergier and Dawna Harrison, owners of Bolts in the Bathtub in Lancaster, Calif.
  • Glorianne Cubbage, owner of BERNINA Northwest in Seattle, Wash.
  • Jill and Henry Reicks, owners of Pine Needles Sewing Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Rhonda and Steven Anderson, owners of Tomorrows Heirlooms, Inc. in Westminster, Colo.

“What an honor it was to receive the District A BERNINA Dealer of the Year Award,” said Lisa Stevens. “I was elated, but what meant more to me than anything else was the genuine congratulations I received from other dealers in District A. What a wonderful group we have. BERNINA really is a family, and I experienced that this week.”



Founded in Switzerland more than 100 years ago, BERNINA is the world’s premier manufacturer with a proven reputation for offering state-of-the-art sewing and embroidery systems, sergers and embroidery software. BERNINA’s leadership is marked by an impressive number of industry leaders, influencers and artisans who chose to partner with the company. BERNINA products are sold in the United States through a network of approximately 500 fully trained Dealerships. This past year, the company released the BERNINA 8 Series, two of the world’s most advanced home sewing and embroidery systems that offer more than 70 exclusive features and 15 patented features. To learn more and to find a Dealer, visit www.berninausa.com or call +1-630-978 25 00.