Yarn & Coffee, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the perfect combination for many of us: caffeine and wool…drinks and yarn…good cheer and warm fuzzies. Call it what you will, owner Deborah Grossman calls it her local yarn store.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What did you do before you opened a yarn store?
Deborah: I worked in a medical clinic in the IT department, but I crocheted every day at lunch and taught others at work to knit and crochet. I also taught crochet at a local bookstore.
HFY: How did you get into the business of owning a yarn store?
Deborah: I was laid off from my IT job and, within a couple of weeks, decided to pursue the long-held dream of opening a yarn store/coffee shop. After five months of one-day-at-a-time, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other progress, I opened Yarn & Coffee.
HFY: What is the best part about running a yarn store?
Deborah: There are a lot of great things about running the store. The best thing I thought would happen–being able to knit and crochet all day long–is not happening, but there are plenty of others. My favorite thing at the moment is teaching people to knit and crochet. It’s a little like teaching someone to read–you see the light go on and the excitement build, and the person’s delight at stepping into a whole new world. That’s a wonderful feeling. I also love helping people put together yarns and patterns for that “just-right” project, chatting with the groups that come to knit and crochet in the store, and telling visitors about my lovely town.
HFY: What is the hardest part about running a yarn store?
Deborah: Not being able to carry every lovely yarn, every type of needle or hook, and every ingenious gadget that there is. There’s just not enough room! Also, walking that fine line between having a really good selection and having an overwhelming selection is pretty hard.
HFY: How do you choose which yarns to carry? And then how do you choose which colors?
Deborah: Mostly, I buy what I love. It also must be soft to touch–the yarn might look beautiful and come in lovely colorways, but if it’s not soft enough, I won’t buy it. I choose colors I love, and I also ask my employees to choose colors they love, then I channel my customers and add in a few that might not be my favorites but that others like.
HFY: What is the strangest request you’ve had from a customer?
Deborah: Do you sell washing machine parts? (Our location used to house an appliance parts and repair store for about 30 years. They’ve been closed for over 2 and a half years now, but we still get people looking for them.)
HFY: What is the most popular Happy Fuzzy Yarn colorway with your customers?
Deborah: We sold out of Steel and Pearls pretty quick–but black and gray are really popular this season. We also sold out of Autumn Indigo. Now that we’ve knit up a shawl in Papaya, that color is moving as well.
HFY: Anything else you’d like to share with fans of Happy Fuzzy Yarn?
Deborah: Follow your heart. Don’t fight it if you always gravitate toward the same color palate. When you’re ready to branch out, you will. And with Happy Fuzzy Yarn’s unusual combinations, you can stay in your comfort zone while at the same time sticking your toe into another zone.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and your shop with us, Deborah!