An Oakmont woman looking to find a swift sewing solution 13 years ago is celebrating the opening of her second specialty embroidery-focused store.

In an effort to help her husband, then a high school basketball coach, Teresa Stitt found herself learning how to embroider uniforms in the basement of a friend’s home in Oakmont after the Stitts failed to find a business that could quickly produce embroidered items.

Keith Stitt retired from coaching at Riverview in 2021, after serving six years guiding the boys team and 12 years with the girls.

“The embroidery was outsourced and was taking a long time, and there weren’t enough embroidery operators,” Stitt said. “He wanted embroidered uniforms and thought that would look classy.”

So she took matters into her own hands.

Teresa Stitt has built Embroidery From the Heart from a fledgling basement business that opened in 2010, to a tiny storefront along Allegheny River Boulevard in 2012, to relocating six years ago to its present Oakmont location at 610 Allegheny River Blvd.

In November, the Stitts opened a second location at 6219 Saltsburg Road in Penn Hills.

Joyce Hanz | TribLive
Embroidery From the Heart, based in Oakmont, opened a second location in November at 6219 Saltsburg Road in Penn Hills.

Stitt and her friend, Tammy Clifton, graduated from Penn Hills High School in 1980.

Now the Oakmont residents work together, coming full circle from the school’s hallways to the aisles of the store jam-packed with hundreds of items for all ages and any occasion.

Clifton was a longtime customer of Embroidery From the Heart. After retiring, she sought a place to work that appealed to her creative side.

“One day, I walked in and realized I want to work here,” Clifton said. “I love the people that come in. I help them because sometimes they don’t know what they want. The fonts and details can get overwhelming.”

For the Stitts, opening a second store has been rewarding. Keith Stitt says it’s more relaxing.

“This is what we wanted. More space, storage and a production area,” he said while working Monday in a back room of the Penn Hills store. “We absolutely outgrew the Oakmont location.”

The Stitts renovated the space, a former florist shop, and are still adding final touches to the front area.

Keith Stitt, 65, now retired from 40 years in the asphalt paving industry, helps out in all capacities.

“She handles more, and we’re blessed to have good employees,” he said. “Before, my wife was trying to do it all.”

“It was a big deal,” said Teresa Stitt, 61. “I did think I would make it. That’s just who I am. My dad was an entrepreneur, and it’s the way I was brought up.

The Stitts married in 1985. They have a son and daughter and three grandchildren.

Closure sparks evolution of business

When the Hallmark store closed in Oakmont after 50 years of business, Stitt saw an opportunity to offer more that just embroidery and monogramming.

“There was no gift shop here after that. People told me there was a need,” she said. “Now I shop and try and find gifts that others don’t have, while trying not to step on the toes of the other businesses around Oakmont.”

Five automated embroidery machines are always humming in the back of the Oakmont store.

Lisa Daugherty of Springdale left an unfulfilling factory job to work in the back room of the store, embroidering on multiple machines at once.

“This is a lot more low key here, and it’s like a family,” Daugherty said. “It’s been a nice time and a fun place to be. I feel appreciated here.”

The two stores operate with a total of eight employees between them.

The bulk of their sales still comes from custom online and in-store embroidery orders. Customers include corporate entities, colleges, high schools, restaurants, bars and people seeking party favors or celebrating weddings, special occasions, births and birthdays.

Joyce Hanz | TribLive
Embroidery From the Heart employee Lisa Daughtery works on a custom embroidery order Monday in Oakmont.

Stitt said customers spend about equally on their pets and kids.

“The babies do take precedence here, but the leashes and the collars can be monogrammed and are very popular,” she said.

Embroidery requests range from traditional to bizarre to a little racy.

“I’ve embroidered underwear, things for funerals like wind chimes and blankets to go in coffins, and leather motorcycle jackets,” Stitt said.

Once, a woman died and was remembered for her saying, “Elvis Just Left the Building” and we engraved a blanket for her that said “Alma Just Left the Building.”

With an emphasis on supporting independent businesses, the Stitts shop almost exclusively in Oakmont.

“We spend our money locally because we hope that people will come in here and spend their money,” Stitt said.

The Oakmont location features an in-house custom laser engraver that provides personalized gifts — such as pocket knives, drink containers, frames and cutting boards — in about 15 minutes. The store is chock-full of hundreds of items available for monogramming, laser engraving or embroidery.

Joyce Hanz | TribLive
Embroidery From the Heart employee Tammy Clifton displays all sizes of pet collars that can be personalized and embroidered at the Oakmont location at 610 Allegheny River Blvd.

Unique gifts abound, including a cutting board that can be engraved and personalized with someone’s handwritten recipe.

“The most fun is when people come in and tell me they’re glad I’m here and my business can fill their needs,” Stitt said.

Joyce Hanz is a TribLive reporter covering the Alle-Kiski Valley. A native of Charleston, S.C., she graduated from the University of South Carolina. She can be reached at