How Can We Ensure the Survival of the LYS

How Can We Ensure the Survival of the LYS

Maureen Johnson

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 purchase from 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 we 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.

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. 

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