For America’s Knitting — it’s all about the yarn shops! We track yarn shops throughout the year. Shops open, shops close and shops relocate.
Shops open — small business, entrepreneurialism, being your own boss, doing it ‘your’ way! You have an idea, a dream, and give it a go. You know what you like, you know what you want, and you have a vision. You can see it all in your minds eye. You look for that perfect location…this can take a while; the price has to be right. You need parking, wheelchair access, good lighting, a place for classes, and room to grow. You hope this perfect location isn’t going to need too much work $. You need a fun catchy name, and then comes the not so fun part of setting yourself up with a business license, so you can pay taxes. You need help, no mans an island. What will your hours be? Exactly how will all this impact my life and family? A lot goes into this idea – a yarn shop!
Shops close — Some stores are at it a long time, and they simply retire out of the business! Some stores have NO idea what it would take, if they did it right, or if they would make any money. Some stores have circumstances beyond their control and have no other choice but to close. It certainly isn’t easy — and by the time you have paid all of your overhead expenses, and the taxes, pay for the yarn and notions and such, and pay the employees – is there anything left? Can you make ends meet? Maybe you’ve hung in there and tried every creative idea in the book, and you just have to take control and close. Some shops are not cut out for dealing with the public – the public can be a darn tough crowd!
Shops relocate — When businesses open, sometimes, you have to take what you can get. But it’s not ideal – or possibly the price is right, but not much else. You give it a go and things are percolating, and something opens up with free parking, or a bigger spot with class space, or something with better natural light. So you pack it all up, sign and all, and move. What a lot of work, but it’s all for the best. Sometimes you bit off more than you can chew and you actually need to downsize and save money if you’re going to stay in business. Sometimes, the perfect spot opens up and you really needed to clean house anyway. Regardless, having your own business is lots of work whether you are in the same spot for 20 years or you moved after 5 or closed after 8.
There’s also so much to learn along the way. What to carry, how many colors of the 178 colors should I stock, all the various weights of yarn, and brands. What classes to offer and how much to charge. The layout of your store, and how many sales you will have throughout the year. When to switch gears, dump some brands, and pick up new brands. How exactly to inspire your customer base. How will I get enough samples to have in the store? Can I run the store and clean it and manage social media??
These courageous folks have stepped out and created a spot, a community for all of us to participate in and be apart of. Support your local yarn shop and don’t be afraid to step up and help out. Maybe you could organize their Ravelry group for them…maybe you could manage their facebook page for them…maybe you could take some photos for them or help them out with a shop sample. They have a lot on their plate and are stretched thin. Lots of times they make it look easy, you might even think they are genius, but they are just people like you and me.
Now for the numbers — as of January 1, 2017 — 1,034 yarn shops
As of January 1, 2018 — 970 yarn shops
This is a loss of 64 yarn shops across 50 states in a one year period of time. The photos you see in this article are of shops I’ve been to that are in business. Please check out our map, and if your local yarn shop is not listed, please let us know, and support your local yarn shop!