A LYS in Williamsville, NY (Just outside Buffalo) was severely damaged by fire a couple of weeks ago. It was not my usual LYS hangout. I didn't teach there. But it made an impact on me nonetheless. The rate of closings of LYSs across the country is still very high, and this represented the loss of another one. Each loss damages the entire knitting community.
Have You Any Wool (HYAW), like so many other local shops, does more than sell yarn. They teach classes. They support charity knitting. They host a knitting group for cancer survivors. They give expert advice. They help the local knitting community stay in touch with each other on a daily basis. Linda Maslona, the shop's owner and operator, is the driving force behind everything the shop does.
Today I received an email saying that Have Ewe Any Wool will re-open across the street from their former location, and I sighed a sigh of relief. I'm happy for Linda, and for all of her regular patrons who have suffered along with her. I'm not changing my LYS from Karma Knitting, but I'm happy to know she's going to be back. Re-opening is an obscene amount of physical work (and just imagine the paperwork!), and I'm delighted she's making the effort.
LYSs are the lifeblood of most local knitting communities. Online outlets are fine for those who aren't blessed with a shop nearby, and for those in-a-pinch-times when you MUST have something the LYS doesn't carry. But with the potential loss of HYAW reminded me again of how important it is to support our local businesses if we want them to continue to exist.
Buy your needles, notions, yarns, patterns, and tools at your LYS whenever possible. All of them. They have a higher overhead cost than the online outlets, so they will have slightly higher retail costs. For that tiny extra cost, you receive advice, info, camaraderie, the opportunity to touch a yarn before you commit to it, and the ability to compare two yarns side by side in reality. (Ever have your computer tell you the yarn is one color only to have it arrive as a totally different color?) And of course, there are the knitting groups and lessons that take place there. You can't get that online. The tiny extra cost to you is what keeps the doors open and the lights on. What would happen to your knitting community if your LYS closed?