In 1983, Sally Winey was about to welcome into the world her third child, Abby. She wanted to have a gift for all three kids and as money was tight she had to get creative She used her husbands old work clothes, her love for sewing that she learned from her grandmother and made three little bears, these were her first handmade bears. (featured)
Little did she know that all those years spent at the foot of her grandmothers sewing machine making patterns and sewing together scraps would years later turn into her being in the middle of bear craze in the 1990's.
Sally's hobby grew and eventually she went from selling to friends, to selling at craft shows to setting up a booth at the New York Toy Convention selling not only her handmade collectables but also manufactured ones! She was called upon by top toy designers, like Ty Inc., to create and design new stuffed animals.
As her business was growing it was always a family business first. We would all stuff bears while watching TV as a family. We would travel on weekends together to bear conventions. We would teach teddy bear making classes in our kitchen or in local hotels.
Over the years the demand for handmade bears has dwindled but Sally was starting to get asked to help with repairs and restorations of vintage stuffed animals. She has worked on all types of stuffed animals. Different ages, materials, and manufacturers. She has even been recommended by Steiff to do repairs in the US.
Her experience working with materials like mohair and her ability to design patterns allows for her to be an expert at repairing and restoring. As the demand increased for this level of service through word of mouth alone Sally formed Winey Bears Repair.
In 2021, Abby decided she was ready to leave a 17 year corporate career and rejoin the family business. She started by helping with marketing/sales and soon sat again by her mothers side at her sewing machine. Abby quickly picked up all her old sewing skills and found a new love for restorations.
Sally and Abby both love the stories the most! Yes the work is rewarding taking something tattered and torn and making it new again but the true joy of the work is knowing what these stuffed animals mean to their owners.
They carry stories and secrets, they've been on travels, they have been companions to the those who were feeling lonely and helped countless through tough times. They are a reminder of time past and it's our honor to keep these memories alive one stitch at a time.
Today, Winey Bears Repair is again a family business. Sally and Abby do all the repairs/restoration work but we have a team of family members working behind the scenes to allow us to help as many folks as we do.
Bill Winey, or Pop Pop, is on the phones and email helping customers who are considering a repair. He is so familiar with the work we do he can help you determine what level of service you need and he's likely to crack a "dad joke" and make you smile! He also helps Sally with unstuffing, re-stuffing, and shipping our of our Statesville workshop.
Shawn Cornelius, Abby's husband, checks in all the stuffed animals, send you your email letting you know we received them, he also helps Abby unstuff, wash, restuff and return ship all of her repairs out of our Davidson workshop.
And CeCe and Lucy, Abby and Shawn's daughters, help too! Lucy is responsible for hugging all the stuffed animals before they go home and CeCe helps by "inspecting" them and picking out the perfect bow!
It truly is a family business. We appreciate all our customers. Your trust in us means the world and your support of our small business allows us to work together as a family doing work we love.
The Winey Bears Repair Team
Sally, Abby, Bill, Shawn, CeCe and Lucy