I originally was planning on going into the shop every Tuesday and Thursday during this period of self isolation. But that changed last night when Governor Wolf called for the shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Previously this was voluntary.
I am willing to accept that a yarn shop is not a essential business. It may be important to many a maker's well being, but it's not essential; makers gonna make - even if that means using twigs and grass from our yards or items from our recycle bin when nothing else is available. But let's be honest, most of us have a stash of supplies, we'll be fine for a week or two.
So being voluntary, I decided to close the physical shop and figured I would check in on it every few days to get the mail, check phone messages, etc. I could also take phone orders or handle e-mailed orders, and offer a drop box. I worked on getting an online shopping site up and running the best I could, and canceled some immediate classes.
But now, I am no longer comfortable even doing that (there's some debate as to what "mandatory" means). So this morning (Friday 3/20) I'll be heading in to pick up a few personal items, check the mail one last time before the 31st, and make a few phone calls.
However, after last nights' mandatory shut down, we will no longer offer mail order or drop box orders.
Why? Basically, Darn Yarn officially has a staff of 1. Me.
I don't live close enough to the shop to just pop in and check on things or process orders. If I lived closer to the shop, say close enough to walk, or even bike over in a few minutes, I might feel differently, but right now, I think it's important for all of us to stay as close to home as we can. And for me, that means not driving 15-20 miles to the shop.
Also, I feel like the option to allow people to continue with curbside pickup or delivery of a non essential item is counter productive to a self isolation quarantine. I understand allowing restaurants and grocery stores to do this, there are people out there who do need to go to work, people who live near the restaurants who might want something to eat, and people who need groceries, but for whatever reason can't get to the store. I understand many of us are going to deal with cabin fever, but heading out to pick up yarn? That just seems a tad frivolous to me right now.
Many aren't taking the self isolation/quarantine seriously. I get it. It's weird, it's unprecedented, it seems unnecessary, and it's going to devastate our economy. It's completely upended our lives. It's inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about it. But what I do know, and what many of you probably don't know, is that I'm one of the ones in the high risk group - and so are many of you.I'm always in the high risk group, have been since about age 6. But this time, something in my gut tells me to take it seriously and stay home!
So even while so many people have been offering suggestions of ways to still operate under these restrictions, I'm no longer comfortable selling or operating as if it's business as usual. There's nothing usual about the current situation. So as stated previously, until March 31st (unless the timeline changes again), we'll be closed.
What does that mean? Basically, no product sales and the shop is closed. I can still sell gift certificates ('cause I have them with me and can drop them in the mail), but that's it for the time being.
Will this be difficult? Yes. But the outpouring of support from so many of you has lead me to believe that it will be ok. We'll muddle through this together - well not physically together, but you know what I mean.
I'm going to try and get a virtual stitch group up for tonight, and will work on some videos in my down time. I'll still be checking email and social media too. If you need to contact me, please send an email, they reach me more promptly than social messages.
One last thing - this is my personal opinion and choice, I am in no way trying to slight any other small business and the decisions they make during this time. This is going to affect so many people and could impact the retail landscape for years to come, we've each had to make hard choices, and every business owner has their reasons for their choices.
Stay home Stay Well.
And as always, Keep on stitchin'