Set foot into Longmont Yarn Shoppe and allow yourself a moment’s pause to take it in: the genuine, quiet welcome; the varied array of quality products, many of them local; the expert guidance and instruction on offer; and not least the invitation to unwind and just breathe.
Longmont Yarn Shoppe goes well beyond being simply a building packed with yarn and tools. For fiber arts enthusiasts of all levels and styles, this beloved resource is everything and anything you need it to be. Humbly nostalgic, thoroughly stocked, and brimming with authentic passion and knowledge in every corner, visitors will certainly find the tools, materials, and expert insights they seek. Comfortable sofas and gathering spaces beckon. Classes allure in everything from crochet to rug-hooking. An area is devoted to celebrating customer’s finished products, shared on loan. There’s even (locally made) chocolate. But above all, those who enter Longmont Yarn Shoppe will find a supportive, thriving, ever evolving community.
“This store is above all about the people who come in here, sharing their amazing gifts, staff and customers alike,” says owner Gail Sundberg-Douse, who opened the shop in 2012 following a long-time career in nursing. “ I am the lucky person who gets to hold the space. I serve our tribe. At this shop, we want people to know that anything they want to make with yarn, wool, or fiber is totally within their reach if they’re willing to give it a try. Everybody helps everybody here.”
LDDA: Congratulations on your recent expansion! You opened doors to your newly expanded space September 1. What can customers look forward to post-renovation?
Gail: Before the expansion, you had to snake your way around from one end of the store to the other. We now have appropriate classroom space, more sitting and gathering space. Our products can be better displayed, and more accessible. And we’re so thrilled to be able to expand on our class offerings. We’re especially adding more weaving offerings, punch needle, and rug-hooking--rug-hooking has become so popular. We have a spinning wheel on the floor for people to try. It is a place where people can come in and really linger comfortably and peacefully.
LDDA: You shared that, in running this shop and sharing your love of yarn, you feel in a way like you haven’t left nursing. It is clearly therapeutic. Can you talk more about your relationship with fiber arts, and how your journey has evolved?
Gail: Knitting is something people in my family have always done. I dabbled in it as a kid. My grandmother would always knit sweaters; my mom knit and sewed like crazy. We were always making things. Then in college, I found in it a place to grow and learn new things. After graduating nursing school, it became a way I could decompress. After a 12-hour shift, I could throw myself into weaving a rug. I learned to spin.
Today, I’m just continually amazed at the ways everyone here helps each other. Each person on our staff has incredible skill and knowledge. Our customers are amazing. Customers readily help customers. In business-school they might say, don’t have a community table, it’s a waste of space. Every inch of space needs to showcase product. But for us the community table is important, where people can relax, and where they can sit down when they need help. Here, it’s all about relationships, supporting people through life journeys.
LDDA: Excuse the pun, but you clearly have a very tight-knit community. You’ve already noted how it touches you. Can you share a bit more?
Gail: We truly grow with one another. We do a lot of celebrating. This month [September 2018] we have an area devoted to showcasing customers’ finished products, shared on loan. We have a beautiful quilt I treasure that a customer made highlighting the different services we offer. I’ve had customers take classes and then become instructors who offer their unique gifts.
LDDA: You grew up in Longmont, from the time you were two years old. What does Downtown Longmont mean to you?
Gail: This is the place I grew up. I came downtown for clothes, for my Easter gloves and hat. I came with my father to the hardware store for tools and nails. This building is where I would come when I was a kid for candy and treats, pre-Target days. I have fond memories of the coolest craft place where Crackpots is; I would spend the whole day on Saturday making jewelry and crafts.
Today, I’m just thrilled to see other small businesses come down here and thrive. I love that our downtown is a prospering place where people look forward to coming. I love seeing families walking up and down Main Street at night, holding hands. There’s positive momentum, and I’m so glad to be a part of it.
Learn more about Longmont Yarn Shoppe, including a full listing of classes, lesson information, and special events, at https://www.downtownlongmont.com/go/longmont-yarn-shoppe.
Freelance writer, Teacher & Healthy Recipe Developer