B&C Sewing & Vacuum

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The B & C Story

Told by Current Owner and Son Rob Pottenger

Seems hard with to believe that all began 52 years ago. My father was 18 years old; 

newly married, had a new baby (me), and was struggling to make ends meet. Matter of 

fact they didnʼt meet. He was in need of a job, as his current employment, down at 

Yakima Meadows horse track, shoveling you know what, for $20. a week got old, real 


He had received word that a local garment manufacturing company called Baileyʼs 

Manufacturing, who made blue jeans for Sears & JC Pennyʼs needed help in their 

shipping department, so He applied and was hired. He started out in the shipping 

department where He had worked for one year. 

As he was about to make a change and go to work for Boise Cascade, the company 

manager of Baileyʼs approached my father and asked if he would be interested in 

learning to repair and maintain industrial sewing machines. Seemed like a great 

opportunity since the company owned and operated over 400 industrial sewing 

machines used for garment construction, and besides – it paid more money. Thatʼs 

where it all started. For the next six years he served the company as one of two sewing 

machine mechanics for the company. 

In 1967, Sunset Sportswear, a jacket manufacturing company, based out of Seattle, 

who had several plants, one located in Moxee a suburb of Yakima, called and offered 

my father the head mechanics job, where he would spend the next nine years.

During my last couple of years with Sunset sportswear, word got out that he knew 

industrial sewing machines. He started to get calls from local drapery and upholstery 

shops looking for somebody who could service their machines since there was nobody 

around doing it. So after hours and on weekends he would travel and service small 

businesses and their machines. The calls kept coming and it came to a point where 

there was more outside work than he could handle. With the uncertain future of Sunset 

Sportswear, he decided to launch out and start his own business. His very first shop 

was in our garage. He had a show room that consisted of one Consew Industrial 

Walking Foot Sewing Machine designed for upholstery. Wow, what a show room. He 

wasnʼt too concerned since the bulk of his business was simply traveling around and 

servicing drapery and upholstery shops. He had all the work he needed. Times were 


After his first year he was in need of help so he hired his brother Carl to help carry the 

load, and thatʼs where the name B & C originated. My father, Bob, moved the shop 

from our garage to a little store front on main street. He spend about a year in that 

location then moved to a larger location where they operated for about a year. After a 

tough year, and a struggling economy, Carl went back 

to driving truck and dad moved the business back to the garage. Once again business 

picked up and he had all the work he needed. All of a sudden, it was 1980, I, Rob, the 

newborn son was 18 years old and looking for a job. At the time the Singer company 

who had been in the Yakima Mall for some time and sold hundreds of machine had 

moved out and was gone. 

As most people are aware, Singer sewing machines is what our mothers and 

grandmothers and our grandmothers mothers sewed on. When you thought about 

sewing machines the first name that came to mind was Singer. So here we are in 

Yakima, with literally hundreds if not thousands of Singer sewing machines and there is 

no one around to service or take care of them. 

During the transition time from Singer Company owned stores to independent locally 

owned stores my father was approached by the Singer Company and offered an 

independent franchise. He was already selling Pfaff sewing machines out of the garage 

on a small scale, however, if we were - to take on the Singer name it would require a 

store front and help. 

I, Rob took a real interest in the business so we took on the Singer franchise and began 

to look for a location to operate from. It was September, 1980. We had acquired the 

old small grocery store and transformed it into a sewing machine shop. I will never 

forget it. Here we are, my dad and I painting and remodeling the building to get ready 

for business. We had put up a sign in the window that said “Singer Store – Coming 

Soon” - we got bombarded with people bringing their machines in for repair. The store 

wasnʼt scheduled to open for another two weeks and we already had over 75 machines 

come in the back door to be serviced. It was unbelievable. When we officially opened 

the doors for business, October 1st, 1980, we started with six new Singer Machines and 

six new Pfaffʼs, a few sewing notions, three cabinets, and one Industrial sewing 

machine and a bunch of repair. 

Interested rates at the time were over 20%, but that didnʼt seem to matter, the valley 

was excited about the new sewing store. As the business rapidly grew we hired on an 

extra employee and continued to expand. In the early 80ʼs the trend was moving from 

sewing stores to sewing and vacuum stores. At the time we had no vacuum 

experience, but the demand and request for vacuum sales and service continued to 

increase and we soon had to address the growing demand. Besides, seemed like a 

win-win situation, I mean surely everyone who sewed owned a vacuum cleaner. In 

1982, we officially launched into the vacuum sales and service by adding Eureka and 

Hoover vacuums. We also carried a large variety of bags, belts, and accessories. It 

was a slow start, but grew steadily. In 1983 we took on the Riccar vacuum line, and 

thatʼs when the vacuum business exploded. I remember when there was a period of 

time when we were ordering 100 at time. It was unbelievable – it was fun – and we 

became well established as Yakimaʼs first sewing and vacuum store. In 1986, we 

moved the store to its present location on Yakima Avenue. We expanded our product 

line by adding Baby lock sewing machines and sergers, Royal All-Metal Vacuum 

cleaners, the German made Miele vacuum cleaner and the Easy-flo built-in vacuum 

systems. Today we specialize in Babylock sewing products, Sebo, Miele, Riccar, Royal 

and Oreck Vacuum Cleaners. 

At the present time we employ four full time and three part time employees. The store 

has received numerous awards for itʼs excellence in sales of Singer, Pfaff, and Baby 

lock sewing machines and is currently the number one producing store in Eastern 

Washington for Sebo vacuum cleaner sales and and we also serve as an Elite Dealer 

for Baby Lock Sewing Products. 

My father, Bob, has since passed away (March 2012) and my son, Bobʼs grandson, 

Bobby joined the business four years ago. As I look back over the years from my father 

starting out in the shipping department of Baileyʼs Manufacturing – I just want to say 

thank-you to my father who dared to dream big, stepped out by faith and made the 

dream come true through allot of hard work, dedication and prayer. 

In closing I just want to say that dreams do come true. It starts with a vision, hard work, 

dedication, proper staffing, great product, great service, competitive pricing, and more 

importantly – staying focused on the fact that you are the people business. If you follow 

these steps – you canʼt help but to be successful.

Website: www.yakimasews.com

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/B-CSewing-Vacuum

613 W. Yakima Ave
Yakima, WA 98902
Get Directions
Phone: 509-453-8301
Website: yakimasews.com