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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Remergence of trend fuels local businesses

Offering a variety of specialty yarns, classes and workshops, the Loving Traditions Yarn Shoppe has found a niche in the Bowling Green community.

First taught how to knit by her mother when she was 11, owner Tracy Shupp’s interest in the craft was renewed when her children went off to college two years ago.

“It was a matter of taking what I enjoyed as a hobby and turning it into a business and the timing was just right,” she said.

Americans spent an estimated $450 million last year on yarn, needles and knitting paraphernalia, according to the Craft Yarn Council of America. In addition, nearly 38 million Americans currently knit or crochet.

“Knitting has made a resurgence in the fashion world, which has brought it back to the forefront,” she said. “Knitting has never really gone out of style but I think it has really taken off with this generation. And with this being a University town, it was a perfect fit.”

Customer and citizen of Bowling Green, Arianne Newman finds knitting to be an easy and rewarding hobby.

“It’s relaxing and you have a great end-project. I think it’s very peaceful and it’s just something I can do that can give me down time,” she said.

Knitting and crochet has also become a means for fundraising through projects such as Warm Up America, pink scarves for breast cancer and chemo caps.

“There are all sorts of organizations that are helping to promote the knitting and the crocheting,” she said. “The time was right both as far as the market is concerned and personally.”

With competition from larger chain stores such as JoAnn Fabrics, Ben Franklin and Wal-Mart, Shupp focuses on carrying specialty yarns.

“You can get synthetic yarn at Wal-mart, Meijer and Ben Franklin. I carry more specialty yarns that you won’t find in those stores,” she said.

Business has been very good for Shupp and has found the local JoAnn Fabrics and Ben Franklin to be especially helpful in referring customers to her shop.

“They know that I carry more of the specialty things and have a wider selection of needles,” she said.

Another main draw to her shop are the classes she offers covering a wide range of projects. She teaches beginning knitting and crochet and has had felting classes (where items made from natural products are stitched and then shrunk to size).

In the classes, participants make various items such as sweaters, caps and blankets. The classes are free except attendees are asked to provide their own materials, which need to be bought from her shop.

Newman heard about the classes from a friend and has since become hooked on the craft.

“I enrolled in one of the classes with a friend and have expanded from there. I have learned knitting skills while working with others toward a common goal,” she said. “It’s very enjoyable.”

Shupp also holds open knit nights, where knitters bring in their individuals projects and talk and share with each other.

“It’s become not just something you do at home, it’s become a social event,” she said.

She will also be introducing workshops this month. These consist of a three-hour long session, with a fee is $5 per person, which includes refreshments. Knitters must bring their own supplies and pre-registration is required.

The first project is a baby blanket, and those who don’t need the blankets or aren’t going to give them to a friend will be donated to the Bowling Green Pregnancy Center, Shupp said.

Customers in her store range from junior high age to senior citizen, all ages and genders. As her inventory is still growing, Shupp will often place special orders for yarns for customers.

“I have people who have never been in a yarn shop and some who are very experienced and know what they are looking for,” she said. “It’s a very wide range of customers.”

With the closest yarn shops in Defiance, Port Clinton and Toledo, Shupp has found a place for her type of business in the Bowling Green area.

“Our customers are coming from a very wide geographical area,” she said. “I get a lot of customers from Findlay, Fostoria, Tiffin, Perrysburg and of course, Bowling Green.”

The name of her shop seemed to be a natural choice, Shupp said.

“When I think of knitting, I think of my mom and I believe that knitting gets passed on from generation to generation,” she said. “It’s a tradition that gets handed down from generation to generation and that’s something I wanted to continue, which is the reason to have classes and open this shop. Loving Traditions was a way to honor my parents.”

The shop, which opened Aug. 6, 2004, soon outgrew its Clay street location in three months. Needing more room for her knitting and crochet classes, Shupp moved into the current location on Main Street in November.

Shupp knew the basics of running a business from her family where she gained previous experience with bookkeeping. And as former healthcare employee, she already knew about marketing and customer service.

“Just taking all the pieces from what I had learned throughout my life it was fairly easy to take those pieces and put them together into a small business,” she said.

Shupp hopes to have another instructor for the classes within the next year and some part-time employees.

She will soon begin taking applications later this spring for employees with the requirement that they must know how to knit and or crochet.

Shupp has found running the business to be enjoyable, which is something few find in their careers.

“I am truly blessed because it’s not everyone that gets to do something they love and enjoy on a day to day business as their job,” she said. “I don’t consider it a job. I get to teach something to people that I truly, truly enjoy. Knitters and crocheters are a great group.”

Editor’s Note: Loving Traditions Yarn Shoppe is located at 331 N. Main Street.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Classes and workshops are usually held in the evening or on weekends. For more information please call 419-354-8700.

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