We’re Cynthia and Kim—the owners of a small but charming (most days) quilting and knitting store in Pine Grove Mills, PA. You’ve probably never heard of Pine Grove Mills, but it’s about 10 minutes from Penn State University, smack in the center of Pennsylvania (in the Northeastern United States).
We started our blog to tell the stories of our shop; it’s been interesting to run a shop, and we thought people might like to know more about what it’s like. We don’t do e-commerce yet, but we hope that if you’re in the area, you’ll stop by to see us! Our website is www.stitchyourartout.com.
How did we get our start? Although most people think we are lifelong friends, we only met a couple of years before we opened our shop. Kim was muddling through possible career changes and stumbled into a class taught by Cynthia at Penn State. We bonded immediately through our mutual love of fibers—Kim was a passionate quilter and Cynthia a longtime knitter. We started teaching quilting and knitting in a local shop and considered forming a business partnership someday. When the owner suddenly retired and closed her shop, we saw our opportunity. We took the plunge and leased the space. Two busy years later—here we sit in colorful, friendly, creative quilting and knitting shop.
For many people, owning a shop is a lifelong dream. We agree that it is a dream, but we have to admit that neither of us had ever planned on this career. It happened more by serindipity. We took the path that seemed to open when we arrived there. (Cynthia: “About 20 years ago, I read a book called Running Your Own Store. It made me never want to run a business.")
What’s it like owning a shop? We do spend a little time sewing or knitting, but not much during the work day. Believe it or not, about 95 percent of our time is spent on these tasks:
1. Helping people. That part is fun. We do a lot of problem solving all day.
2. Doing accounting. That is not fun—but it can get interesting.
3. Putting away shipments of yarn and fabric. This is like Christmas when you actually open the boxes, and like the day after Christmas when you’re trying to find places to put it.
We sew and knit mostly at home on our days off, just like everyone else.
Right now, we’re in the middle of rearranging the shop for fall, so we’re spending a lot of time figuring out how to do that. We have a lot of new yarns and fabrics coming in, and it’s always a challenge figuring out where to put them in our little store! We’re also planning to be vendors at Stitches East in Atlantic City this fall, at Knitter’s Day out in October, and at the Centre Pieces quilt show in October, so we’re also trying to figure out how to do all of that. We’ll keep you posted.