Before I die (at a hopefully very old age), I dream of opening a yarn shop.
I've been to so many yarn shops where rooms and rooms were filled to the gills with overflowing shelves of yarns of all different weights and fiber contents. I've spent countless hours walking through them just touching everything I see, dreaming about what I could make with them and how they'd knit up as a shawl or a scarf or a hat.
It would be awesome to be the person placing those skeins and hanks on the shelves, feeling all of their cushy goodness as I do it, talking to other knitters and crocheters about what they plan to make with what they're purchasing (or: if they plan to make anything with it, because most knitters know that so much of the yarn we buy will head right to the stash instead of onto our needles), poring through the colorways and choosing the best for my shop to carry. I'd serve coffee and tea and have far too many comfy chairs and couches. It would be a bright, open space. It would be perfect.
But that brings me to the real point of this post: Another of my favorite yarn shops is closing soon.
I'm sure Lisa had the same kind of ideas for what her yarn shop would be and become, but less than three years after opening All About Ewe's doors for the first time, she's decided that it's time to let go. Here's what she wrote in her weekly newsletter last Monday:
Over the past 2 1/2 years of owning All About Ewe, I have met tons of wonderful people that I hold near and dear to my heart. Many of them have become true friends. We have laughed, cried, gossiped - and all the while we knit. You've helped me in more ways than you will ever know, and I hope I have helped you all a little bit, too.
This is a very painful decision, one that has been weighing on me for many months, but I cannot skirt the facts anymore. I am closing All About Ewe. Every part of my life (including all my money) has gone into this place. Closing is like saying goodbye forever to a family member. I can't afford the drain on my finances any longer, and I can't see taking on a full time job outside of this place just to keep it open. That won't solve the fact that the shop cannot stand on its own two feet.
It makes me so sad, and it's not only the knitter part of me that's sad about it. Owning a small business is so incredibly difficult, and that scares me. "Wanting it enough" means pretty much diddly-squat these days, especially here in New Jersey, where everything (including rent) is so much more than it should be.
All About Ewe was so different from any other yarn shop I've ever visited. Far too many of the ones I visited had any or all of the following: a) unfriendly people, b) only very expensive yarns, c) staff members who watched you like a hawk as you shopped, d) not enough space.
This shop had none of these. Owners Lisa & Jesh were friendly and left you alone after an initial greeting, but they were there to answer questions without making you feel uncomfortable for asking. They carried yarns that ranged from $5-$50 and, upon check-out, never made you feel awkward for choosing the $5 acrylic yarn over anything else. (I once even heard Lisa talking to another customer about the fact that she carries inexpensive yarn. "It doesn't matter to me if someone only wants to knit with the cheap stuff!" she said - summarizing, of course, as this was over a year ago. "I just want them to be knitting!" That is something I have never heard another shop owner say.) Finally, All About Ewe was a large space. With non-street parking!
It's just really unfortunate. You would think that with so many knitters there would be such a huge market for yarn shops, but I guess that's just not the case. I'll miss you, All About Ewe!