How Can We Ensure the Survival of the LYS

Every year the local yarn store directory website, America’s Knitting, does a year end report in which they tally the amount of yarn stores lost over the year. In 2017, the year began with 1,034 yarn stores in the USA and ended with 970. That’s a deficit of 64 yarn stores in just one year. On average that’s more than 1 yarn store gone per state. Owner of Cowgirl Yarn, Lori,  says this is the first time she has seen the yarn store number dip below 1000 since she opened the store 13 years ago.

These numbers are a sobering reminder that shopping local really does matter. While a yarn store can seem odd and contrived to a non-yarn lover, it is a safe haven for us creative folks who rely on fiber to express ourselves. Yarn stores are a direct champion and supporter of that mode of expression.

Those of us running and working in local yarn stores realize that internet giants are easier to patronize than having to travel to the nearest brick and mortar shop but patronizing actual shops makes a big difference in your local economy and yarn stash! If you can’t make it to a yarn store in person, seek out small yarn stores with online shops and order directly from them rather than going to a mega retailer. There are perks to shopping small in person and online and that includes being exposed to smaller, more unique yarn lines, needle types, local artisans and more! For example, here at Cowgirl Yarn we have been struck with the demand for Jerry Ertle’s wooden yarn bowls from shoppers around the country. Those shoppers have chosen to support a unique local maker through a unique local retailer and have made an impact on our successes and Mr. Ertle’s successes for the year.

We understand that there are simply some things you just can’t find immediately in person at a small retail store but ask that you first call and request the certain yarn line/needle brand before ordering it else where. 99.9% of the time at Cowgirl Yarn, (or your nearest local yarn store) we can order that item in to the shop for you! Sure it may not arrive immediately, but when it does arrive you’ll be greeted with a smile and you’ll be supporting folks who live close to your home, folks who help you find those dropped stitches, folks who rely on their small business to support their families and their employees.

As we barrel through 2018, we want to know what we can do better to help you stay local when you purchase yarn. Do we need to adjust our hours? Do we need to order more quantity? How about a specific yarn line? Can we stock different notions or necessities? How can we get our word out to the rest of the yarn world? Your feedback helps us continue to grow and be successful in this fast paced business so we look to you guys, our customers, our friends, for guidance on how to best serve you. 

12 thoughts on “How Can We Ensure the Survival of the LYS

  1. Deb Reed

    I wish you were closer to Littleton, CO. We have lost 3 lovely stores in the last 2 years. We are working on gathering our gal pals for a trip to Laramie.

  2. Barbara De Spain

    This wonderful shop in on my list each year when we head to Wyoming. Very helpful staff and wonderful selection. Too bad it wasn’t around when I was a student , maybe I would have spent less time at the saloon across the street!🤔

  3. Barbara De Spain

    This wonderful shop in on my list each year when we head to Wyoming. Very helpful staff and wonderful selection. Too bad it wasn’t around when I was a student , maybe I would have spent less time at the saloon across the street!🤔

  4. Keary Uhlig

    I lived in Laramie for two years. I loved visiting and shopping all of the local and luxury yarns. My favorite thing was touching all of the fabrics, trying to decide which to add to my stash. I loved going in without a plan, just imagining a new project as I shopped. The customer service is amazing as well.

  5. Mary Guenzel

    In reading the comments from folks living out of state, it makes me feel especially blessed to live in Laramie! I love the classes and comradery that comes with them. Having a local store also benefits the community with what Lori gives back. She is very generous in donating yarn and funds to various community charities and organizations!! Thanks!!

  6. Renee Lufkin

    I loved your srorw when we visited from Phoenix. We have 3 lovely shops within 30 miles of me. I wish there were more classes on the weekends that I could attend. I end up doing internet or dvd classes I miss the wonderful people.

  7. Cindi Scheidt

    I look forward to visiting your shop this year. I live in Bozeman, Montana and am fortunate to have several yarns shops. I have a small business and sell my hand knitted items at farmers markets, craft shows and our local mall. I also teach. I love local wools and blended wools. I support hand dyed and hand spun yarns. I recently discovered Mountain Meadow Yarns and hope to be a representative for them.

  8. Amy F.

    A few weeks ago, when I needed a pair of needles, Lori had several different styles for me to try AND she let me test drive them before making a purchase. I couldn’t have done that through an online retailer. I also appreciate the support I get from Lori and Maureen and Ben on projects and their yarn-picking expertise. Those are just some of the perks of having a LYS. Thanks!

  9. Anna Gales

    I own a yarn shop in Vero Beach, Florida. We have an on-line shopping cart on our website. Since opening almost seven yearns ago, about eight shops have closed. I appreciate your blog/post and hope it informs and inspires people to support their Local Yarn Shops.

  10. Cheryl Chesebro

    I was just on vacation near Orlando, FL. I wanted to visit a yarn shop. We did a google search and ended up at 2 different places that were closed and 1 that was open. This one was called Knit!. Very small shop but had 5 ladies knitting at a table, a couple of customers and a shop owner that was wonderful and extremely helpful. I purchased 2 skeins of yarn and the owner thru in a tape measure and a pattern of a shawl I was admiring.

  11. Tammy

    I visited your store a couple years ago, it was great! I have an LYS in my town. I do try to shop there as often as possible, but she doesn’t exactly carry the yarn I like. But I’m lucky that CT is a small state and there are several LYS about an hour or less from me. Sadly we have also had several close. I also plan trips around visiting LYS’

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