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Central Sewing Machines
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History of Central Sewing Machines

With his wife desiring to save money by sewing clothing for her family, and with his own desire to make his wife happy, in 1962 Bert Reich and his wife set out to obtain a sewing machine. After reviewing a few different models, the Reich's went out and got a low-end machine complete with a nice cabinet that seemed to fill the need. Without any training on the machine, for the next year Bert's wife struggled with the machine. Realizing they had not done enough research before buying, the Reich's knew that the next time they would rather have the option of being able to try a machine before buying it.

In the quest for a better unit, a few stores provided different models of machines to the Reich's for in-home demonstration or in-home trial. Due to the charisma of an Elna representative and the quality of the Elna supermatic sewing machine, the Reich's obtained one. Bert's wife was also able to go to the Elna sewing centre for lessons on the sewing machine which increased her competency and comfort level, so in a short time she was really enjoying sewing with the machine.

The Elna sewing representative also suggested to Bert that he could also learn to operate the machine and even make some extra money by selling them door to door. With the desire to make some extra income, Bert started his career as a door to door salesman of Elna sewing machines and also giving lessons. With hard work and determination while braving muddy roads and biting dogs, Bert made a success of it. The business grew as his customers referred their friends and relatives to him. Soon Bert had stores set up in Barrhead and Westlock with machines on display where he would go out once each week to do sales calls and also service machines. With hard work, Bert earned a free trip to Switzerland to visit the Elna sewing machine factory.

Demand for the sewing products and the quality of service increased to the extent that on May 15, 1984 Bert had the privilege of starting a sewing machine sales display in the Fabricland store in West Edmonton Mall. After some deliberations and discussions with his son Randy, they decided to open a Sewing Centre named "Central Sewing Machines" in the Fabricland store. On October 15 of that year they opened a second sales location at the south side Fabricland store.

Staff was hired and ads were placed in the Edmonton Journal, and in the first year Central Sewing Machines was selling more Elna and White sewing machines than any dealer in Canada. They were also presented with the "Top Elna Sales dealer of the year" award by Elna-White sewing machines. Central Sewing Machines kept that number one spot for many years.

After their lease ran out with Fabricland, Bert and Randy opened their current south side store location at 8649 - 63 Avenue in Edmonton. They also opened a second store at 156 Street and 95 Avenue which has since moved to the current west end location at 18514-104 Ave.

In 1989 Randy Reich and his wife Mona took over the business and Bert became the helper.

To quote Bert Reich "One of the reasons for our success was that we offered free sewing lessons with all new machines that we sold. We would talk to ladies that had purchased new machines or sergers but did not know how to fully make use of all the features of the machines. Word of mouth helped us a lot as our customers were bringing their friends in to buy from us. The customers were buying sergers and electronic machines that really could do a lot more than the old treadles, and with lessons our customers were able to be more creative. We also started giving real sewing lessons to help our customers sew everything from dresses to suits, jeans and more. A second reason for our success is that we have loyal customers and trustworthy sales staff and that we believe there is a God that we can truly say is our guide and strength in our lives."

In 2016 Randy and Mona Reich sold Central to Keith MacMillan & Muriel Jensen, a brother and sister duo that had extensive history as customers of theirs, they are growing the business both with the domestic machines and the industrial machines with the objective to be the top dealer in all brands in Canada.

Today Central Sewing Machines is one of the largest sewing machine stores in Canada. They carry most brands of domestic sewing machines and sergers. The major brands on display and in stock are Bernina, Babylock, Brother, Husqvarna, Juki and Singer. The stores also carry a full line of notions, sewing accessories, parts, and some patterns. They also stock Irons for household, industrial and professional use. If you need a sewing machine cabinet, Central Sewing Machines carries a large selection to choose from.

For the Industrial sewing industry Central Sewing Machines stock a full line of sewing machines, sergers, shoe patchers etc. These machines are all designed to sew at high speeds while sewing heavy fabric, heavy harnesses, truck slings and other heavy materials. The industrial division also stocks parts and will do the repairs all makes of Industrial machines.

Central Sewing Machines stock a good selection of quilting machines for both the hobby quilter and the professional quilter. They carry machines that will accommodate large quilts, finishing them with patterns that are selectable on their Handi Quilter machines with throat sizes up to 24 inches.

If you want a used sewing machine or serger, Central Sewing Machines carries a good selection of "serviced and are ready for duty" machines at reasonable prices.

Central Sewing Machines wants to sell you the machine that will do what "you want it to do". Every Central Sewing Machines customer has their specific needs in mind and wants a machine that will meet those needs. Central Sewing Machines trained staff will make sure those needs are addressed for any projects the customer may have.

The staff at Central Sewing Machines feels that "every customer must be happy with the purchase of their sewing machine". Says Bert Reich - "Husbands purchasing a machine for their wives can feel confident that 'if their wives do not like the model that they have purchased, they can bring it back and move up to the more machine with the features they want!"