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Port Orchard author Macomber spins a different kind of yarn
New retail outlet features information, service for knitting buffs.
We’re living in an enormously challenging time to open a small business. Job security is down and gas prices are up. The business failure rate is high, with large retailers closing.
Consumer confidence has fallen, as have general retail profits.
The owners of A Good Yarn in Port Orchard know all this, but still they’re confident of their own success.
For every sad-sack-negative-assertion, they have a good answer: There are no quality yarn stores in Port Orchard and plenty of avid knitters.
There are lots of places to buy yarn, at large outlets, but nowhere to go to learn about how to knit something special.
More to the point, there are no knitting stores that have the backing of best-selling author Debbie Macomber, a Port Orchard resident who is fulfilling her dream with her participation in this venture.
The idea has been in the works for two years, ever since Macomber took a beading class from Sandy Payne, who is one of the investors, and expressed her desire to open a yarn shop.
The store’s name, A Good Yarn, was taken from the title of a Macomber book published in 2005 about a Seattle yarn store.
“I’ve been a maniacal knitter from the time I was 12,” Macomber said. “It’s played a key role in my life. I am dyslexic, so it gave me self-esteem. It also helped me learn math skills, and gave me the ability to cope with miserable situations or the time when I was angry or upset.”
Macomber is one of five investors in the business and expects to take an active role in planning. Her own work will be on display in the shop but not for sale — used as examples of what can be accomplished with hard work and imagination.
While Macomber’s presence will give the business a bump, there is more to the business plan than a famous author connection.
There will be a range of prices and styles offered, from skeins of inexpensive cotton to fine silk. While they offer products for comparable prices, the drawing point will be the service.
“You can’t walk into Wal-Mart with your knitting in a mess and expect that the guy who also runs the battery display will be able to tell you what to do,” said co-manager Joyce Greenfield. “We’re offering service, and will provide the help for people to complete their project.”
Even in the price-conscious world, small businesses stay alive because their products aren’t judged completely on cost.
A successful small-town business builds a loyal customer base of people who will pay a little extra for full service.
A Good Yarn takes the process a step further. There is the product, which it sells at a reasonable price.
There is the service, learning how to get started and solve problems. But Macomber and Co. are looking to build a sense of community with a simple saying: “Our motto is to focus on traditions taught and relationships formed,” Macomber said.
Co-mananger Lisa Ellis feels that the prevailing bad economic conditions may be good for the shop.
“During bad economic times people tend to nest more,” she said. “They stay at home, and interest in knitting increases. People will take the time to create things they can give to their family, that the recipient will keep for a long time.”
A Good Yarn, located in the old Bethel Avenue Books building, is holding its grand opening on Sept. 19.
Its regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, aside from Thursday, when it will stay open until 6 p.m.
On Sept. 21 the store is sponsoring a High Tea/Fashion show from 1 to 4 p.m. at the adjacent Tea Room restaurant.
(For a video of Debbie Macomber visiting Port Orchard merchants last week go to www.portorchardindependent.com)
For a video of Macomber's visit to Port Orchard merchants click here.