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Downton Abbey Comes to Iowa

PELLA, Iowa (KCCI-TV)The immensely popular PBS TV show "Downton Abbey" has millions of fans who can't help but dream of living in the elaborate English home.

Most of them will be excited to hear a company in Pella wants to help get them just a little bit closer to that lifestyle.

Heritage Lace has 30 employees that just hit the Downton jackpot.

"I'm kind of a geek. Yeah, I've loved it from day one," said Heritage Lace co-CEO Dan DeCook of "Downton Abbey."

The TV show has been a huge hit with Americans with show audiences topping 10 million watchers per week.

"My sister and I are big fans and sometimes we're texting each other during the episode. 'Can you believe that happened?'" said Desha Bruxvort, a designer at Heritage Lace.

While watching the show last season, company workers got an idea.

"And it was like a light bulb went off. And we said, 'We should pursue this,'" said DeCook.

Within weeks, the small Pella business had workers in New York City pitching everything from pillows to placemats inspired by "Downton Abbey."

"Sometimes we would just have to sit back and say, 'Wow, is this really happening?'" said Bruxvoort.

The company's ideas were a hit and suddenly Pella became home to Downton dish towels, aprons, window coverings and tablecloths that Mrs. Patmore might use in the kitchen.

"Which is a little more of the everyday -- relaxed feel, things you'd use on a daily basis," said Bruxvoort.

The company is also making products that would be used upstairs in "Downton Abbey" including Lady Mary inspired gloves, scarves and curtains.

"Here we really wanted the formality and the opulence of the time to shine through," said Bruxvoort.

Last week, the company unveiled all 200 items at Atlanta's massive trade show where home decor stores nationwide choose what they will sell.

"People weak in the knees coming into the show excited about our product and I think that's when we all realized, 'I think we have something special here,'" said DeCook.

The seamstresses back in Pella realized they would have a lot of overtime ahead to keep up with the demand.

By March, the company's pillows will be in stores from Toronto to Tucson and by summer Heritage Lace might need more workers to keep up.

"You'll see people are hosting Downton Abbey parties," said DeCook. "We're part of helping bring fancy back."

The company ironically is located on Carson Street in Pella.

Downton's producers have already said they plan to use the Pella-designed items in the actual TV show starting next season some of the same items you will be able to start buying in stores in March.

 
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