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Why we all need a little LYS in our Lives

Before I opened the doors to Walther Handmade, I spent several months in prep mode: doing market research, attending webinars, writing a business plan, budgeting, and so on. Doesn't that sound exhilarating? Probably not to most, but I was thirsty for knowledge and wanted to get off on the right foot, so I "traveled" all over, reading and researching all sorts of articles about owning a business and especially owning a local yarn store.


Encouragement from Afar

In my research "travels," I came across an article* about a yarn shop in Chicago called Miss Purl, owned by Kamaca Champion. Kamaca shares her years-long journey to open a yarn shop of her own and her passion for building community. One of Kamaca's quotes has become my internal rallying cry:


Every community needs not just necessities, but amenities, as well

~ Kamaca Champion


I don't know how much Harriman, TN has in common with the South Side of Chicago...but what we do have in common is that every community - whether it's 95th Street or the 3rd block of Trenton or somewhere in between - needs amenities. Needing amenities may sound contradictory, but amenities in a community mean more than wants or luxury items. Amenities are what make a community feel like home; amenities bring a community to life and transform a street, building, or neighborhood into a home.


The Third Place

The importance of amenities in a community ties in with another interesting idea I came across in my pre-business research: the theory of the Third Place. The Third Place Theory was developed by sociologist Ray Oldenburg in the late 1980s. The First Place is your home; the Second Place is your work; the Third Place is a home away from home - a place of community, creativity, and social interaction.


According to Medium, Third Places play a key role in: promoting social interaction, enhancing creativity, fostering a sense of belonging, supporting personal growth, and building resilient communities.**

While online spaces may offer some of these same experiences, Oldenburg asserts that "Third places are face-to-face phenomena."***


 

Let's see... Where is a place where you can get some face-to-face social interaction, feel like you belong, strengthen community, and grow your creativity... ?


Your Local Yarn Shop, of course!

Local Yarn Shops are these amazing types of businesses that not only contribute to the local economy (by nature of being a small business), but also act as places of incredible community and creativity. LYS's are places where people from all walks of life can come together, learn from one another, build connection, spark creativity, and "have an opportunity to express themselves." (Kamaca Champion)


3 ladies learning how to knit
Classes are a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill
Local Yarn Store Day

Over the past year or so, I have had the spectacular experience of getting to know many of the LYS's in my area. Listening to and learning from fellow LYS owners only solidifies my conviction that Local Yarn Stores love hard. We love our people, we love creating a "home away from home," we love to talk about yarn and sheep and all things fiber, and we all strive to make stores that are welcoming and that will provide a sense of community to all who enter.


This weekend, April 27th, is Local Yarn Store Day. This is a whole day dedicated to recognizing the awesome contributions of Local Yarn Stores and also celebrating our wonderful crafting community. If you already have plans to visit an LYS -- awesome! If not, you should drop whatever you have planned and make new plans to go visit an LYS.

Get to know your Third Place - you won't be disappointed!




*Reed, Atavia. "This Beverly Yarn Store Wants To Help South Siders ‘Craft With Every Fiber Of Your Being’" Block Club Chicago, 29 Sept. 2021, https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/09/29/this-beverly-yarn-store-wants-to-help-south-siders-craft-with-every-fiber-of-your-being/.

** Er, Nazli Gizem. "The Third Place Theory" Medium, 11 Sept. 2023, https://medium.com/@gzm.err/the-third-place-theory-ae0dcee927b6.


P.S. Thank you Kamaca Champion for being my inspiration. You have no idea who I am, but I have been greatly inspired by the words, wisdom, and passion you shared in this interview. Thank you for not giving up on your dream.

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dherd4656
dherd4656
Apr 26

This is beautiful! I never heard of the third place until this week. I was reading where a store in the Yarn Tour was expanding to create a third place.


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@dherd4656 Yes! Hook & Needle mentioned the Third Place when they announced their plans to expand this week. It will be so cool!

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Carol R
Carol R
Apr 26

This is so wonderfully written! You are providing the amenity of a third space to all of us. You make everyone feel welcome.

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Thanks Carol ❤️ That really means a lot.

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Michelle C
Michelle C
Apr 26

I love everything about this post!! I do consider WH my “third place” and I didn’t even know I had one :) I love getting together with the local craft community and meeting people new to the area who share my love of all things fiber

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❤️Thanks Michelle! It has been awesome to watch it all develop!

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