Milford community comes together to support shop after owner breaks her hip

MILFORD — Martha Wilson Reed admits without the help of the community and her daughters, she would have lost her longtime love — her business, The Canvas Patch.

Martha Wilson Reed, commonly known as Marti, fell in her store on Feb. 19 and broke her hip. An injury, her daughters, Carrie and Susan Reed, said could have left their mother without her shop.

“My daughters have saved my business," said Marti Reed, owner of The Canvas Patch, a staple in the community for more than four decades. "I don’t know how I would have survived without them."

The sisters have temporarily taken over the operations after a customer found their mother on the ground a few weeks ago.

“The customer who saw my mom and helped her told me she had no plans to enter the store," Carrie Reed said. "She was going to walk right by, but she said something told her to go into the store."

Susan Reed, Marti Reed’s eldest daughter, said her mother has had the business for 45 years and has survived different events.

“She’s been through floods, a fire, which burned the original location down to the ground," she said. "She’s been through two recessions and a pandemic, but her broken hip is the biggest threat she’s had to the business.”

The fall could have been devastating for Marti Reed, threatening the viability of the local gift shop.

“It’s been very slow after the holiday, so she had been eking by, and being out for a couple of months could have been devastating,” Susan Reed said. “Without saying much, we knew she was concerned about how her business would survive.”

Susan Reed said she could feel her mother's anxiety immediately after she broke her hip.

Knowing their mother needed to focus on healing and getting better, the sisters decided to take on the responsibility of running The Canvas Patch.

“After I heard how my daughters did on the first day on Saturday (Feb. 25) and having such a tremendous business day, it has reduced my stress level tremendously,” Marti Reed said. “But now, because of last weekend and people coming in and this coming weekend, there’s enough money for me to get along until I get back full swing.”

Marti Reed said she is in therapy, but overall, she feels well and is thankful she can focus on improving.

“Just knowing the store is taken care of is a tremendous relief for me,” she said.

To draw people in, the sisters decided to promote more on social media that they would be taking over on the weekends. They reached out to local businesses to see if they could donate prizes or raffles for the special events to entice people to come in and shop.

“So many restaurants and other businesses generously donated gift cards,” Susan Reed said. “People showed up and showed up in droves on Saturday and Sunday. It was so great.”

“The town of Milford is amazing. The turnout for supporting The Canvas Patch and our mother is heartwarming,” Carrie Reed added about the turnout on Feb. 25 and 26.

The sisters plan to run The Canvas Patch on the weekends until Marti Reed is strong enough to return.

“I haven’t worked at my mom’s store in years, but I was raised working there since I was 7 years old,” Carrie Reed said. Susan Reed added she started working at the store when she was 11.

Even though it had been years since Carrie and Susan Reed worked at the store, they know their mother’s methods well.

“But also, coming back to work that day, it was surprising to see how many customers knew her ways and would assist me by reminding me how my mom would do things in the store,” Carrie Reed said.

The sisters said the best way to help The Canvas Patch and their mom is to shop in the store.

“I have so much love I can’t put it in words,” Marti Reed said. “I have so much love for my daughters, my community, my friends and my church, First United Church of Christ, who helped me so much during this time.”