SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This past year of social distancing and cancelled events has led many people back to some of their favorite at-home hobbies. It’s also meant a big boost in business for one very specialized store in Sioux Falls.

“Needlepoint has been around for centuries it started as tapestries in the old castles and rugs to keep it warm,” Barbara Riley , the owner of Barbara’s Needlepoint said. 

Today there are still many people passionate about these projects.

“It’s really relaxing and allows me to get in touch with my creative side,” customer Trudy Billion said. 

Long time customer Trudy Billion got back into needlepoint in 2020.

“I’ve done it for many years but I had taken a break from this hobby while pursuing other things,” Billion said. “I came out of retirement from this hobby due to covid, I was looking for a way to do something fun while I was at home more.”

Many people have come back to Barbara’s Needlepoint to look through her vast selection of threads and one-of-a-kind designs.

“The needlepoint is hand painted on the mesh,” Riley said. 

The designs alone are works of art hand painted by Barbara and other local artists who have helped the store gain quite a following.

“We started on Facebook probably 2012, we grew exponentially when we went on Facebook,” Riley said. “We’ve had retreats bringing people from all over the country into town too.”

The growth started at her original store at 8th and Railroad, but she just moved into this new, larger space on Western Avenue.

“Over double what we had,” Riley said. “We are very busy, I’ve added to the staff since we moved here.”

As more people complete their needlepoint creations, it also increased demand at the other half of Barbara’s business.

“Not very many needlepoint stores provide in-house finishing service, so that also created our growth,” Riley said. 

She now has 20 employees, many working to finish the intricate needlepoint creations into pillows, ornaments, stockings, rugs and more.

“Just wonderful things for the home and makes the home very inviting with the finished products,” Billion said. 

Workmanship that has made this Sioux Falls business one of the largest needlepoint shops in the U.S.

“We have customers all over the country, I’m not kidding, all over, and in other countries,” Riley said. 

“We’re very lucky to have such a wide assortment,” Billion said. 

The staff at Barbara’s Needlepoint are also a big draw for customers; they are local experts in their field and share their extensive knowledge with many people looking to get into the hobby.