By Thomas J. Sullivan–Citrus Heights Sentinel
Extreme Stitch, a family-owned and operated embroidery company in Citrus Heights, began years ago in Wendy's home and has since expanded to its location at 7250 Auburn Blvd., across from the old Sylvan Middle School property.
“We’ve been in business for 15 years and the years have just flown by,” Wendy told The Sentinel in an interview earlier this month. After years of being employed at another embroidery business, she took her years of experience and decided to open her own business in 2003.
The Loomis native, and mother of two sons, grads of Mesa Verde and Del Oro high schools, said she never dreamed Extreme Stitch would blossom into the business it is today. A second location for sales and production is under consideration, she said.
“I knew that to make it in this business, great embroidery alone wasn’t going to cut it,” she said, noting that she still shows up to work Monday through Friday to oversee day-to-day activities. “My customers can rest assured that the buck stops with me,” Wendy said.
Her student-athlete customer base is 60 percent male to 40 percent female. Each jacket is unisex and made in the United States.
She remembers the first 50 letterman-style jackets her company first designed for high school students in the Citrus Heights area. Her company creates at least 300 or more custom jackets each year.
Wendy says she’s proud to see a new generation of repeat customers, as the children of her prior customers come back for their own custom-designed letterman-style jackets. Extreme Stitch serves private and public high schools throughout Sacramento and Placer County, including six high schools in the San Juan Unified School District.
Customers walking into her shop will see the walls of Extreme Stitch adorned with every kind and combination of school colors, mascot logo and team sports patches possible to choose from. While walk-in customers are typical, she’s also received telephone orders from orders from Stockton, Vallejo, and as far away as Massachusetts and even Texas.
Student-athletes work directly with Wendy or one of her two staff members to determine the personal design of each jacket’s school colors and patch arrangement. She reminds them that each jacket “makes a statement on campus and will highlight your achievements, school spirit and your personality.”
Not every student-athlete is “stock” so that’s why Extreme Stitch custom orders each jacket to precisely fit each customer. The cost of a custom-fit varsity jacket in a customer’s choice of school colors is about $400. Jackets are available in all sizes, youth through adult, Wendy said.
The turnaround time delivery for a typical letterman jacket is 6-8 weeks. A deposit of $200 is required to pay for the cost of the jacket, and customers can then make payments on the jacket until the balance is paid off. Wendy said one of her young customers took seven months to pay his jacket off.
Wendy's business does a considerable amount of non-school related business as well, offering a variety of embroidery and printing services to the general public. Customers can order garments from a variety of vendors or bring in their own items. Extreme Stitch specializes in tackle twill, chenille embroidery, and direct-to-garment printing.
Chenille, typically used for varsity and letterman jackets, offers bright colors with a 3-D effect to an award patch. It is usually stitched upon a piece of felt that is then contour-cut and sewn onto a garment.
“I think we’re one of the only custom embroidery shops in Northern California that has a chenille machine,” Wendy said.
Tackle twill is the application of custom-cut twill lettering onto a garment. Any shape, letter, or design can be custom cut from a polyester twill material and sewn onto almost any garment for a finished look. The twill is then stitched around the edges using a zig-zag or dotted-stitch path so they are permanently fixed to the garment. Tackle twill is often a popular feature on school sweatshirts, sports jerseys, and varsity jackets.
Caps for a golf tournament or aprons for a barbecue can also be done in an economical and timely fashion, Wendy says. Her goal is to provide her customers with “the best possible price, the fastest service and the highest quality.”
Extreme Stitch Embroidery is located at 7250 Auburn Blvd., Suite F, in Citrus Heights. Additional information can be found on the company’s website, extremejackets.com. Regular business hours are Monday-Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.