“I never thought I’d be anything but a teacher,” said Pat Lawlor, founder of HyperStitch. “I was a junior high school teacher for 21 years, 14 of them in Huntley. One day my red pen ran dry and I knew it was time for a change.”

Pat and her husband Patrick Lawlor kicked around ideas for a second career option, investigating certain franchise opportunities, and other options. After a year (1995-96) of researching and planning, they bought their first embroidery machine, and Pat went to work in her family room.

After three years in the Lawlor home, HyperStitch moved into the lower level of Prairie St, adding screen-printing in 2000, as well as more employees. Vinyl and sublimation are other added techniques, and by the summer of 2005, HyperStitch expanded into the entire building at their current location.

“One day Sarah White came in to buy a t-shirt for her husband,” Lawlor said. “I was on the sales floor that day and we ended up talking for 20 minutes. We had already decided to sell HyperStitch but had not found anyone. Sarah’s kids are all in school now and she needed a job. She was working as a teacher at MCC.

“Three days later I woke up and thought, ‘Wouldn’t that lady be perfect?’ Since she had ordered a t-shirt, I had her phone number. An hour later, we had an agreement. It’s perfect because she is from Marengo. She is buying the business but not the building so she is not limited to that location. We will be signing the papers on Jan. 5 at Prairie Bank. It turns out we use the same bank. Marengo is a small town. When she expands, she will probably stay in Marengo.

“”We have had over 90 employees in the last 20 years. Everything we do is custom ordered. It takes all those hands to get it right. We help each other out. If we see embroidery being done, we can say, ‘That’s the wrong shade of blue’ and quickly get it corrected. Those employees are very special to me, all together we make it work. I still have customers come and say, ‘I remember when you worked out of your family room.’

“We belong to six Chambers of Commerce. We concentrate on businesses. They make up 65% of our business but we also do a lot of non-profits such as churches, schools, scouts, charities, and sports leagues.”

“I will be spending my time volunteering for causes close to my heart that I haven’t had time for such as the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. I also have a kayak which I am looking forward to using more often.” “My husband coaches softball and I was a customer of HyperStitch,” said Sara White. “I came in to buy a t-shirt for my husband and Pat and I started talking. It was just good timing. Three days later she called and asked if I wanted to buy the business.

“I have been teaching at McHenry County College for 10 years. I have an MBA in management. I have been teaching other people how to run a business although I, myself, have never run one. Pat thought it was a good fit. She was also a teacher. Plus, I’m about the same age she was when she started HyperStitch.

“For the first year, I plan to hold steady. I have a one-year lease on the building. I cannot do any more with the current space. There is no place to even put in another screen-printing machine. I’d like more space for display. We could expand on our offerings if we had the space. I’m looking to move to another location in Marengo with better exposure, more foot traffic, and room to expand.

“We have been in Marengo for eight years. I am excited to become more active within a community that’s been good to me

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