Walter Catenhauser started his business during the Great Depression, then guided it through a metal shortage during World War II.
Nearly 90 years later, Missouri Sewing Co. is still going.
The family-owned business offers household and commercial sewing machines and repairs at four metro-area locations.
Martin Catenhauser, vice president of household sales and operations, said excellent customer service is critical to the company’s longevity. During a sale, he said, employees find out customers’ goals, demonstrate machines’ features and discuss costs.
“Missouri is the Show-Me State, and if you say a machine can do something, you better be able to show it,” said Catenhauser, a fourth-generation employee.
After a sale, the company provides lessons and resolves any issues with machines.
“We do not send machines to the manufacturer if there is a problem,” Catenhauser said. “We do not give customers a YouTube link for them to learn about their machine. We don’t outsource customer service.”
The company also has adapted to meet customers’ needs.
“Embroidery, quilting and learning how to alter purchased clothes are very popular these days,” he said.
Popular craft websites have attracted a younger generation to sewing.
“It is a very evolving time in our industry, and we have adapted by really doing what we have always done: Listening to the needs of our customers and finding the machine that is right for them,” Catenhauser said.