This is the fourth installment in my interview series with Yarn Shop owners across the country. My aim is to share what small businesses experience during the current economic climate, the sacrifices made, the joys and the tears that accompany the life of the small business owner. Knitting Shops have their own special niche in the world and remain such a positive force in the life of knitters. I hope that the series of interviews I’ve conducted helps to humanize what Shop Owners go through on a day to day basis and encourages you to keep on shopping with your favorite Knit Shop! Next time you’re in the Fairmount are please drop on by the Knit N Purl and let them know Fickle Knitter sent you.
Knit N Purl is a very special shop which is located on Sheila Spaulding’s acreage in Fairmount, Indiana. She has a full compliment of Chickens, Dogs, and Koi to greet her customers and also sports a wall for blocking lace knits. Knit N Purl is definitely on my bucket list of shops to visit because with a wonderful owner like Sheila, you know the customers are a delight as well.
I hope that you enjoy this interview with Sheila of Knit N Purl as much as I did and hopefully you’ll add her shop to your knitting shop bucket list too.
And Sheila has Brown Eggs! I think Sheila is just the type of down home overachiever that I’d like to count among my friends.
Interview with Sheila Spaulding, Owner of the Knit N Purl Yarn Shop Located in Fairmount, Indiana
When did you open Knit N Purl?
I opened the shop two years ago this week! I bought the shop from the previous owner when she retired and I wanted to open a store in the little town where my parents live to be close to them. There were none available at the time so I decided to open up in a finished room of the garage behind my house. As the business started growing, i had to decide to stay here and add on or move into town.
It seems my customers enjoy the drive out into the country to come here. I have 6.5 acres in the country with chicken, dogs, a small fish pond and beautiful wildflowers along the lane. They love to come out and many of them will sit and knit for hours.
I try to make them all feel welcome and special. I always have funny stories to tell, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen with.
I recently lost my father, I brought him here and with the help of hospice, I took care of him until he passed. I didn’t close the shop, My knitting family jumped in and watched the shop for me and went on knitting, but when I needed to escape for a bit they were here and it meant so much to find I had made such an impact on them that they were here for me. Many of my customers are new knitters and I never tell them a project is too hard. I have watched many grow more confident with every new challenge. This a place to escape their troubles and they know there is no pretense here. As Popeye says:”I yam what I yam!” and they can be too.
Please tell us about your blocking wall!
The blocking wall came about due to my big butt and bad knees! I got tired of crawling around on the floor and thought it would be easier to hang the blocks on the wall. I was at Sam’ Club one day and saw the floor mats that lock together much cheaper than the blocking mats and decided to try it out. It has worked out wonderfully! the shawls are out of the way and when not in use for blocking i can hang displays up. I let my customers use it to block their work or charge them a small fee to block it for them.
What is something difficult about operating a Yarn Shop?
The most difficult thing about running the shop is the business end of it. I am horrible with bookkeeping and i procrastinate.
I am hoping to expand enough to hire some people to help me this year.
What do you love about your job?
I think I should have been a teacher or a comedian, I love to help people learn the things they think are impossible and I am a real clown most of the time! I love sharing my passion for knitting.
When I retired 5 years ago, I told people if i got bored I would open a yarn shop. When the opportunity came, I jumped. It has exceeded my hopes and dreams! I have made many new friends, the business keeps growing, and I have heard from many that they come here because of products and me.