It was one year ago today that we opened our doors for the first time; nervous, excited, not really knowing what to expect. To our relief, the Elmore community welcomed us with open arms, empty knitting needles, and a thirst for good coffee.
We were only half-stocked with yarn (the other half was on backorder), and fresh from a barista course, but you forgave us our newbie jitters and kept coming back for more. It must have been our conversational skills.
I’d set up my small floor loom at the front of the shop, and started weaving cotton tea towels. Being Elmore’s only interactive window display drew lots of interest and comments. Then Parsons had their clearance auction and we scored the old Sheridan spinning wheel which I’d had my eye on for 10 years. So I taught Tim to spin, and a much more unusual and rare window display was created!
And then in May, Covid Lockdown 4 happened. Our first in the shop. I don’t actually think we were counting them at that stage, but we pretended that we were an essential service, dropped our hours, and served your coffee in takeaway cups.
Lockdown 5 struck on the eve of the Sheep & Wool Shop in July. That hit a lot of local businesses hard. All we could do was to keep on spinning and weaving, selling our handcrafted scarves through Facebook, and handing out coffee through the door.
Lockdowns 6 and 6.1 passed in a blur as Winter rolled on. Would this ever end! It did, of course, as the vaccine roll-out swept through. But as restrictions eased, and virus numbers sky-rocketed, travellers imposed their own cautions as they moved around, and Elmore stayed fairly quiet, even over Christmas and New Year.
So what’s next for us? This time last year, I had a vision of a cosy little wool shop as a gathering place for local knitters. Didn’t happen. Thanks Covid. Instead, the coffee side has been far busier than I envisaged, and we have become a gathering place for local coffee lovers instead. Wool sales weren’t as strong as I would have liked – had the initial Covid-induced resurgence of knitting waned after 2 years, or were people just not able to get out and visit their LYS? Handcraft sales picked up the slack – handwoven scarves with Tim’s handspun yarn were especially popular, the teatowels held their own, and a steady flow of customers (men and women) are discovering the awesomeness of handmade soaps.
So, Thank You, Elmore. Here’s to 2022 – Elmore Yarns’ year two.