I went into the Sew Pro in Escondido and met Rosemary. She was just the sweetest thing. She asked my what my range was and I said $300-400. She showed me the Elna 2100, didn't have the 2300 or 2800 in store, but she had the 2600 and 5100 to show. She was very patient showing me the stitches and the features of each Elna model. It is an impressive machine... not in looks but in features. She did jeans to sheer to ribbed to stretch knit and to elastic effortlessly - all in one setting!
I told her what happened to my Singer from a regular store and she said that Singers aren't that great. They are good in general stores because of their looks, priced low to sell with all the hoots and whistles but as far as the quality of machine and stitches, the machines do not hold up and break easily. Much better bet with Singers or machines from dealers as they tend to carry the good models and built better for dealers compared to the ones for mass stores. Also, the Elna doesn't look so pretty but is known for quality. And with the demos she did... it really was nice =)
She also showed me the Brother Project Runway 40 and said it was rated #1 in the Consumer Reports. It is pretty and pink with a bug circle dial. No, she did not have the one Palomar has... i would have bought it from her instead of Sewingmachinesplus.com
I left with some pamphlets and info. I liked her a lot. There was no pressure and she was so patient to answer all of my questions. I shook her hand, thanked her, and walked to my car. I was thinking I really liked the Elnas she showed (range of $299 and up) but it just didn't have enough "stuff." I will think about it and tomorrow hubby and i go searching for a machine, yay!