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June 18, 2021

Longtime businesses Nimble Thimble, Mafalda’s closing their doors

Linda Williams may be “retiring” (emphasis on the quotation marks), but she expects the Nimble Thimble will live on.

Williams, who has owned the downtown Gilroy quilting haven since 2013, recently announced that the shop will close on May 31. Located at 7455 Monterey St., the store is open daily, with special sales throughout its final weeks.

Williams said she can’t imagine being retired for long. But for now?

“It’s time to have some adventures,” she said.

A Gilroy resident for 16 years, Williams bought the store from Dave and Marianne Peoples, who opened the Nimble Thimble in 1977. An avid quilter, Williams said she was a regular at the shop, always joking with the owners that she wanted to buy the business.

One day, however, the Peoples’ agreed. Williams quit her high-tech job in the Silicon Valley shortly after.

“It was the right time, right place,” she said.

The Nimble Thimble originally opened at the corner of Monterey and Martin streets. It moved to 7550 Monterey St. in 2000, and after Williams took the reins, she moved it to its current location at 7455 Monterey St. in 2015, where it now shares the building with the Gilroy Dispatch.

“There’s everything you need to quilt,” she said. “It’s like a hardware store for quilters.”

Williams said the Nimble Thimble will have a future in “some form,” perhaps less on the retail side and more of a focus on experiences, such as sewing classes and other events.

It recently joined forces with The Neon Exchange and hosted the Tula Pink National Quilt Show for a 10-day period in April, which raised $16,189 for St. Joseph’s Family Center.

Williams had high praise for Neon Exchange founder Toni Bowles.

“Toni’s a remarkable person,” she said. “Working with her was truly one of the best experiences. I’m looking forward to working with her more in the future.”

Nimble Thimble is not the only downtown Gilroy staple that will be shutting its doors soon.

Mafalda’s Bridal & Tuxedo, 7499 Monterey St., announced in March that it will be closing. All of its inventory is currently on clearance.

Mafalda’s was founded in 1991 by Mafalda Freitas, who began her business as an alteration shop. It later became a boutique for weddings, quinceañeras, proms and other events.

Freitas’ daughter Marleen Vieira took over the shop in 2014.

In a video posted on Facebook, Vieira thanked the store’s customers, as well as the Gilroy Downtown Business Association and Chamber of Commerce, for their support over the years.

“It has been an honor to be a part of the Gilroy community for over 30 years,” she said. “It is truly an honor to be a part of your wedding, your prom, your first communion, your quinceañera, all of your special events.”

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