Kreinik discusses company, products at Mid-Ohio Valley Heritage Quilt Festival
PARKERSBURG — Kreinik Manufacturing Co. has been producing threads and related supplies for nearly 50 years in Parkersburg, but some residents still don’t know the nature and scope of the business.
Owner Doug Kreinik, whose parents founded the company in 1972, got to share some stories and insights with more than a dozen people Saturday as part of the 16th annual Mid-Ohio Valley Heritage Quilt Festival at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History.
The quilt show, which began March 7, concludes today.
“I travel around a lot of places, and I hardly ever get to talk in Parkersburg,” Kreinik said.
The Gihon Road factory employs 20 people and exports products like metallic threads, silk, knitting yarn and more all over the world for use in sewing, fiber arts, scrapbooking and even fishing lures. They’ve worked with fashion lines like Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade and even had their metallic threads accent costumes on HBO’s popular “Game of Thrones.”
In the show’s last episode — costuming spoiler alert — “the Queen of the North had this wonderful robe that was embellished with Kreinik threads,” he said.
Kreinik not only described the products the company produces, but the ingenuity his parents, Jerry and Estelle, showed as they developed them. He recalled his father working with metallic threads for the Department of the Navy in the ’50s. Although those particular items did not pan out, he took what he learned and later adapted them to his own business — and other efforts.
When a batch of metallic thread was cast aside by the Marine Corps because of the smell created when it was ironed on, Jerry Kreinik brought it home and, thanks to Estelle’s sewing, “we all had ‘Flash Gordon’ outfits for Halloween,” Doug Kreinik recalled.
The business has changed and grown over the years, with the company never content or able to rest on its laurels.
“They originally had seven colors, and my mom said, ‘That’s enough color,'” Kreinik said. “Today we have 250.”
Kreinik showed as well as told Saturday, passing around a host of pieces made using various Kreinik products, from a veil with glow-in-the-dark thread to a cross-stitched image of a dragon looming over a castle rendered in metallic thread and a vest showcasing filament threads on the back and braiding in the front.
Washington, W.Va., resident Dina Braniff and cousin Ruth Callihan of Belpre appreciated the opportunity to see the different items.
“I loved it,” Braniff said of the presentation.
Both Braniff and Callihan enjoy quilting and fabric arts. Washington, W.Va., resident Charlotte Smith said she was more curious about the business itself.
“I’ve been past his factory forever, and I was curious to know what was inside, what he makes and how he makes it,” she said.
In recent years, Kreinik has opened the factory for tours and started an outlet store at the urging of Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Mark Lewis. The company also began offering classes, which proved popular, and Kreinik plans to resume them once things are settled with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Evan Bevins can be reached at email@example.com.