We often hear how important it is to support your local businesses by shopping small and shopping local. But do you ever wonder if your efforts have an impact? Let me assure you that they most certainly do! Recently we moved the shop - don't panic, we only moved about 35 paces to the right - and while it was a whirlwind of an adventure, it was only made possible because many of you make an effort to support your local yarn shop.
Near the end of 2017, Penn Pantry (a specialty food store that was located in the space we now occupy) announced that they were moving to a larger space! Yeah for them! Their little idea of a shop that specializes in Pennsylvania produced food items, kitchenware, and related items, had been met with enough support over the first months and year of business that they were able to add more and more items to their offerings - including the need to add a refrigerator and two freezers, TWO! Eventually they had to reevaluate their situation and decided a move was in order - all because people supported their business and enjoyed their offerings.
How did that help us, as an LYS (local yarn shop)? A larger space, in the same building we were occupying, became available, at quite possibly, the right time.
If you recall, about a year ago, we took a "leap of faith" and expanded Darn Yarn into the back room. We doubled in size! The addition gave us more space to showcase the spinning wheels and hold classes/ groups. That new space was quickly utilized, filled, and enjoyed by many of you. It also stretched us financially, but quickly proved to have been the right decision at the time.
When we found out that Penn Pantry was vacating their space, we quickly had to weight the pros and cons of staying put and continuing to utilize our still relatively new addition, or taking another giant "leap of faith" and relocating to a different place in the same building - once again, increasing our square footage. The pro/con list was long, and it was a scary idea. I'll be honest, it's still a struggle to get all of the bills paid every month, and the move would increase those bills as larger space = larger rent and more inventory.
However, you know the outcome - we opted to take a leap and move into the newly vacated space. Then the craziness began! Based on schedules, availability of labor, predicted retail down-time (Jan. & Feb. have been historically slow for both Wunderbar & us.) we planned the move for one week in January! ONE WEEK! Yes, it's crazy. But I knew it could be done, and as mentioned, January and February are usually slow for us, so being open for business while a bit disorganized was an acceptable option for me.
So we did it! And by we, I mean me and an army of dedicated volunteers who truly gave new meaning to "Support your local yarn shop". And that's when it all got personal, and I could see the impact of shopping local first hand. Granted, I see it every day, being a small independent local brick and mortar shop, but somehow, those volunteers showing up every day for a week really helped me see how shopping local ripples into the community.
First, Penn Pantry was able to move into a larger space because a number of people saw the value in knowing where their food comes from and supporting the local producers. Which means the local farmers, beekeepers, pasta makers, salt and seasoning companies, and artisans are benefiting too.
When my volunteers stopped in at Wunderbar for coffee to fuel their painting sessions, they helped to pay the wages of a local barista and a local coffee roaster.
I purchased goodies from the Two Fraus Bakery to thank those helping me that week. My money helped pay for the ingredients in the baked goods, including flour from a local supplier and products from a local dairy.
The clerk at the paint store asked what I was painting. We discovered that she's a customer of Darn Yarn - which is why she looked familiar. That means that the money she spent at my shop in December was reinvested into the company that pays her salary.
With our old space available, Wunderbar is able to expand their seating and offer a conference room for business meetings and small gatherings. The new space will once again offer a place for many of the locals who telecommute to get some work done and local businesses to hold meetings in a "neutral" location.
These are just a few of the examples from the move that showcase how supporting the local businesses really does keep more money in the local economy. So, please, keep it personal! Shop local and continue to support your local economy. I know it means everything to me and the other local shopkeepers.
There are so many people I'd like to thank for their help during the move; it really couldn't have happened without them: Dave, Wendy H., Mary Alice & Glenn, Jaime C., Isaac & Amy, Ann & Kevin, Chris B., Doug, Windy, Spike, Kathy & Larry, Amanda, Lissa, Josie, and anyone else I may have missed. There were so many of you!