For the fiber arts community in Durango, the closing of local yarn shop Yarn on Sunday isn’t going to be just another shop closing; it’s going to also be the loss of a social hub.
Along with the retail space, the store also had room set aside for the four fiber-arts groups that would get together to work on projects throughout the week.
“I just moved here from Boulder last summer, and I couldn’t believe the size of the knitting community here,” said Helen Marshall. “It’s incredible.”
And when it comes to fiber arts – knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, etc. – it is an art and not just a craft, said Yarn owner Jonni Greiner.
“It is taking the substance, whether or not it’s paint, whether it’s fiber or whatever, it’s taking a raw material and turning it into either a garment or a wall-hanging or an afghan you drape over a sofa: They’re all items of art,” she said. “It’s the act of creating something that uses your own inspiration to manifest.”
Greiner bought Yarn just as it was going out of business in 2010. And now, almost six years later, it’s time for her to move on.
“It’s been a really good six years, but I just turned 60 and my husband is wrapping up his business in Dallas, and he’s been there the whole time I’ve been here,” she said. “Being completely dedicated to a retail business is something I’d like to pass on to somebody else.”
The decision to close the shop is not one she made lightly. It was hard, “very, extremely hard,” Greiner said. “It took me months to finally pull the trigger. This has been the best six years I’ve ever had in a career.”
The inventory and the customer base are for sale; the store’s physical space is a lease.
“Hopefully, a knight in shining armor will ride in and get the shop and then I can devote my time to teaching, which is what I really enjoy, teaching and helping folks get their project right. My husband and I are also going to travel. I haven’t gotten to see any of the wonderful things in this part of the world.”
While the shop is a traditional retail operation, it’s the community of both seasoned fiber artists and the newly initiated that made Yarn different.
“It’s giving folks the ideas that they need,” Greiner said. “The one thing I hear when people leave here is, ‘I’m excited. I’m excited about this project, I’m excited about this yarn.’ And we try to fit people ... it’s not just coming in and getting a widget, it’s coming in and fitting them with a pattern and a project they’re excited about that will perpetuate what we’re talking about.”
The weekly groups may be losing their physical meeting space, but they’re going to continue on.
“We’re going to meet at different places,” Morris said. “Wednesday group is going to meet at the Smiley Building, and the Monday group is going to meet in a private home. We’re not breaking up.”