Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Makes a Good LYS?

I live in the land of plenty. We have plenty of lakes- we boast “land of 10,000 lakes” but we actually have 11,842 according to the MN DNR. We have plenty of changable weather. We have a multitude of sports teams – The Twins, Vikings, Wild, Swarm Gophers, little league…. We have plenty of places to eat (I have a waist line to prove that one). And within 1 to 1 ½ hours of my house I have over 30 yarn shops. That’s crazy. And yet – people will say they don’t have a good yarn shop near by.

When I worked at my friend’s yarn shop back in the late 70s-80s while going to college we had a lady come in who complained she had to drive so far and why wasn’t there a shop closer to her home. When I questioned her, it turned out she lived about 3 miles away. True, she was an older lady but, come on, 3 miles! I know people in Iowa who make it a day event to visit a yarn shop because there’s nothing around them for hours!

With all the shops we have to choose from there should be a shop to meet everyone’s needs but – what makes a good yarn shop? Before going to a new restaurant or movie I like to read the reviews but I frequently end up disagreeing with the reviewer. My girlfriend and I can’t even agree on what we think is good food sometimes. I like spicy food. She can’t tolerate it. So, back to the yarn shops, do you like your’s spicy or mild? As I travel around I’ve been in shops that leave me absolutely cold and then I read a review and hear the reviewer talking about how wonderful it is and it’s their favorite shop, Who’s right? There are a few standards all shops should have: good customer service, a good selection of yarn, hours that match your available shopping time, etc.

My goal this summer is to visit all the yarn shops in our area and revisit the ones I’ve been to before with open eyes. What yarns do they have? How to they greet new customers? What needles and other supplies do they have? What about classes and help? What does the shop physically look like and how easy is it to get to the shop? What are the hours? Do they have crochet, spinning, weaving, other fiber activities? I’m going to snoop around and take notes. I’m going to write about what I see. This doesn’t mean you’ll agree with me and it doesn’t mean, I’m right or wrong – it’s just my opinions about that one day’s visit. Who knows I may even let Andy Lumper come along!


Kat said...

I offically envy you. There are exactly TWO LYS shops within a reasonable distance (30 miles) from me.

Of course that gives me a perfect reason to drive the 2 hours to the twin cities and invade your yarn shops. =D

Guinifer said...

There are at least four shops within a distance I'll drive in an afternoon. I don't love any of them. Two of them are really pretty, the people that work in the four stores range from intrusive to friendly to standoffish. Not one of the stores has a cozy chair by the bookshelf (which I really need in a LYS!)so I can sit down and look at all the books.

Nancy said...

I'm looking forward to reading your LYS reviews. I have 4 within a quick drive of my house here in Dakota County (Zandy's, Yarn Garage, Knitter's Palette and 3 Kittens) but I also go to Needlework Unlimited, Amazing Threads and the Yarn Cafe. Happy Yarn Trails!