Actually, it's been a little over a year. I officially opened Chattanooga Yarn Co on October 1, 2022! It's good that I didn't plan a big anniversary blowout that week or the week before, because Covid had other plans for me this Fall! It's been a BIG year for me. The business is doing well, we're building that community of knitters and crocheters that make a yarn shop a home, I went from a partnership to a sole owner (IYKYK), and I've worked my tail off for closer to two years to get this thing rolling.
I haven't had a lot of time off, and even when I'm "off" I'm still working, but that's the nature of a new business. My philosophy has always been, "let me get good at one thing before I add the next thing." Opening a business is like drinking from a firehose, but I've managed to avoid disaster so far by sticking with that philosophy. I got the in-person retail going before I focused too much on social media. I got social media going before I focused on the website. After that, classes. Next, social gatherings. And so it goes. One thing at a time. Sometimes it's a big visible thing, sometimes it's a piece of technology I need to add, sometimes it's just cleaning up the stockroom.
I've added new lines of yarn, gifts, and kits as I've had the opportunity. My stock levels are about double what they were when I opened. I've brought in new fixtures. I've also hired a full staff of expert knitters and crocheters who are the most amazing group of folks you'll ever meet, and whose support has meant everything to me in 2023.
There have been some curveballs, some unexpected expenses, and some horribly stressful situations. I lost my father in June, which changed my whole world. I had to buy out a partner in the business -- a very expensive and time consuming situation which was totally unexpected. Northgate Mall is still very much a question mark as a permanent location. And whether a local yarn shop can survive in a city the size of Chattanooga with the competition from so many online behemoths will always be an issue.
But I've weathered all the storms so far, with my amazing staff and incredible family and friends supporting me all the way. More importantly, this wonderful community of knitters and crocheters and crafters has surrounded my little shop with love and support, friendship and laughter. I've been so happy for the past year to be back with my people, because yarn people are the best people. We've dropped a lot of F bombs, cried some tears, laughed til we doubled over, and it has been the most incredible first year any business could ever have.
Thank you to all of you. Let's do this a few dozen more times!