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Carol Gantz Receives TNNA's 2009 TEN Award
The association's highest honor.
Staff Report (June 15, 2009)
Each year The National NeedleArts Association presents the
Tribute to Excellence in Needlework – or "TEN" – Award
to an individual who has had a lasting impact on the world of
needlearts by upholding the highest standards in needlework
creativity, education, product development, and industry promotion.
At the recent TNNA show in Columbus, President Dave Stott
presented the award to Carol Gantz, a needlepoint designer and
product development partner in Associated Talents, Westlake, OH..
Gantz came to the industry through retail: She worked on
Saturdays in a needlepoint store during her college days at Oakland
University in Rochester, MI. After graduating from Oakland with a
bachelor's degree in art history, she started designing needlepoint
while attending graduate school at the University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor. She moved eight times with her husband Bill's career, and
found that the needlearts industry provided the flexibility she
needed to raise a family under such circumstances.
In 1980, Gantz opened a retail store in Fort Wayne, IN, selling
needlepoint, knitting, counted cross-stitch, and custom designing.
She sold the store in 1984 because her family was relocating to
Portland, OR. Her retail store manager, Sandy Steere, had become her
business partner in their new company, Associated Talents. A.T. was
founded in 1982 as a needlepoint design company, and that's when
Gantz began her involvement with TNNA.
Although she and Steere were several states apart, Gantz
continued to be the primary designer for A.T. She eventually
relocated to Charlotte, NC, where she met Don Lynch. He started
designing for the company and then became a partner. In 1998, A.T.
acquired Heritage Home Graphics, which expanded the design
possibilities for the company.
Two more moves later, Gantz was recruited to serve as Chair of
the Needlepoint Group of TNNA in 1999. She was elected to the Board
of Directors, and then to the role of president from 2002-2004.
During her term, Gantz assisted in TNNA's unification with the
International Needleart Retailers Guild to bring the needlearts
under one umbrella and increase the size and effectiveness of the
association. She also worked on the launch of TNNA's Stitch To WIN
against Breast Cancer program, as well as the Jubilee 30-year
celebration of TNNA.
Gantz rejoined the TNNA board of Directors to fill out another
member's term for one year from 2006-07. She is currently on the
Board of Directors of the association's Needle Arts Mentoring
Program (NAMP) and the satellite show task force of TNNA. She
teaches at TNNA trade shows, where she also facilitates the New
Buyer Orientation Program, and continues to offer a variety of
classes at retail stores.
In 2005, Gantz assisted her daughter, Beth Gantz, in acquiring an
existing retail business. Today, Stitches, Etc. in Bay Village, OH,
is a thriving needlepoint, counted cross-stitch, and custom framing
facility. Mother and daughter co-chaired the first Stitch N' Pitch
event for the Cleveland Indians. Beth Gantz started designing her
own needlepoint line of entry-level products and solution-based
ideas in 2007, and is now working on both sides of the industry.
Carol Gantz has mentored many new start-up businesses over her
career, but her creative energy is still dedicated to being part of
the team at Associated Talents. She works on Saturdays – coming
full circle from her start in the industry – at Stitches, Etc.,
which keeps her in touch with the consumer's needs and the changing
trends in the needlearts community.
Carol and Bill have two children and three granddaughters who
live in Charlotte. Her family history includes several members who
worked in the art/design field as well as for causes and community
"We are absolutely thrilled to give Carol this honor,"
notes Stott. "She has done so much for this industry and
association over the years, and continues to do so today."