By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Seattle Yarn has found the new owners it needed to keep its doors open.
As we reported in May, store proprietor Ruth Bowen wanted to sell the business by August so she could pursue other interests.
Enter new owners-to-be Cheryl Lea and Destiny Itano, who will soon assume ownership of Seattle Yarn, assuring that the shop which has served local knitters for more than two decades will continue.
Though the two West Seattle moms have been friends since they were in middle school, their first business partnership arrived very suddenly. Though Lea has yet to catch the knitting bug, she knew Itano, who has been enjoying the fiber arts for over 13 years, would be interested in the opportunity.
“I’m not sure how Destiny first heard about the shop being for sale, but when I discovered it, I sent the notification to her immediately,” recalls Lea. “I couldn’t wrap my head around the loss of this long-standing and beloved institution. One thing led to another, and we decided to go into business together.”
At least part of the partnership will include Lea picking up the needles herself.
“I look forward to teaching Cheryl to knit,” says Itano with a laugh.
The store will officially say goodbye to Bowen at a “Hello-Goodbye Party,” 6-8 pm Wednesday, August 15th, where customers will be able to wish her well on her new endeavors, as well as connect with the new owners, who will officially take charge of Seattle Yarn the following day.
Though Lea and Itano have many ideas for expanding Seattle Yarn’s offerings, including unique knitting patterns designed by Itano herself, they want to be certain they are building on what exists, rather than disrupting what has worked well for the community.
“We want to carry new and exciting yarn brands and offer classes, trunk shows, guest designers, and knit-alongs,” says Lea. “We also plan to maintain the existing knit nights so we can retain the vibrant community that already exists in this great shop.”
There is more to hosting events in the store than smart marketing, however. That idea of community applies not only to the surrounding neighborhood, but the people who come together around hobbies such as knitting, crocheting, and spinning yarn.
“My experience has been that yarn shops are more than just retail businesses,” says Itano, who had been patronizing Seattle Yarn since being taught to knit by her midwife 13 years ago. “They are like little community centers for people in the fiber arts.”
“I feel really fortunate and excited about keeping this place going.”
The shop’s current name and hours of operation (T/W/Th: 10-8, F/S/Su: 10-5, closed Monday) will remain unchanged. Patrons can also continue to stay informed of upcoming events at the shop through the Seattleyarn.com website.
Otherwise, Lea says they cannot wait to get to work.
“It has been a crazy whirlwind of excitement and anxiety, but we are really eager to get started.”