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An interview with the owners of Spun, Ann Arbor’s newest yarn shop

spun1Meet Ann Arbor’s newest yarn shop: Spun! Husband and wife owners Carol and Pete Sickman-Garner opened the Kerrytown shop in December of 2015 with the goal of creating a fiber hub where folks could share “their creativity, their expertise, and their love for making things by hand.”

Spun carries a finely curated collection of yarns, tools, and accessories sourced from Michigan, the US, and abroad. Among the many types of yarn they carry are Happy Fuzzy Yarn’s Corrie Sock, Merino Lace, and Merino Tencel Fingering.

There are also a variety of classes hosted regularly in the shop, ranging from parent and child knitting lessons, to knitting for lefties, to advanced lace knitting, and more. For less structured events, check out their “Ask a Knitter!” and Drop-In knitting sessions.

Of course, you’re welcome to stop by the shop anytime during business hours to sit, knit, and enjoy a warm cup of tea in the company of Spun’s friendly staff and customers.

Find more information on their website, spunannarbor.com

 

Happy Fuzzy Yarn: I’m sure there was a great deal of thought and planning before deciding to open a local yarn store. Can you describe the moment you decided to go for it?

Spun: We started discussing it around January 2015. It seemed like a good time. Of course, although we (Carol and Pete) had relevant experience working retail and Carol is knowledgeable about yarn and knitting, we’ve never done anything like this, so in our initial conversations, neither of us was serious. But we kept talking and realized that if we were going to examine the viability of a yarn store, we’d have to set aside time to do it. Carol took a month away from her freelance editing work and created a business plan. She said, “I think this can work,” and that’s when we really got serious.

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Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What other businesses or models did you look to for inspiration in creating the shop?

Spun: Carol spends a lot of time in yarn shops and has her favoites. She’s got a very clear idea of what she likes about the ones she likes–a friendly atmosphere and a broad selection of good yarn at a wide range of prices. We wanted ours to feel welcoming to knitters and crocheters at every level.

 

Happy Fuzzy Yarn: How has the way you think about yarn and knitting grown since you opened the store?

Spun: Yarn is still beautiful to me (Carol), and I still really like the people who make it and use it. It’s been interesting to become more personally acquainted with all the different people who knit and crochet in Ann Arbor–and more familiar with all their varied reasons for loving their crafts.

 

Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What is unique about opening a yarn store in Ann Arbor as opposed to another city?

Spun: The range and diversity of crafty types here is enormous and always surprising. We couldn’t describe our typical customer, which is what keeps the job interesting.

 

Happy Fuzzy Yarn: You’ve been open for just over two months now. What do you envision Spun looking like one year from now? How about five years from now?

Spun: As well as things are going and as positive as everyone has been, that in five years, we’ll look back and realize how little we knew when we first opened. We just want to continuously improve, and we already see a lot of things that we’ll be able to do better a year from now as we’re gearing up for the holidays in 2016.

 

Happy Fuzzy Yarn: Since opening the store, what has been the most surprising thing about owning and operating it?

Spun: We were warned by many people how relentless the work is when you own your own retail business. And it is never-ending, but it’s also fun and much less stressful than we expected. The nicest surprise by far are the people we’ve gotten to know since we opened in December, including our staff. They are an amazing and talented bunch, funny and smart and a pleasure to work with every day.

Spun

407 N. Fifth Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

(734) 780-7867

spunannarbor.com

pete@spunannarbor.com / carol@spunannarbor.com