Losing a LYS

OK, guys - here's the dilemma... I live in Southwest Florida, and the only yarn shop within about a 40 mile radius is going to be closing at the end of April. I am very tempted to just jump in, buy out a bunch of the current owner's stock, and open up a new store. (The current shop is in the owner's home, and buying the business outright would probably be harder than starting new-although the current owner has been very nice and offered to help me get started.)

I cannot afford to leave my current job/benefits for a "wouldn't it be fun." And the cost of leasing retail space seems almost prohibitive. To add just one more problem, I live in a kinda out-of-the-way corner of the county, and even if I tried to open the shop in my own home, I have no room.

Anyone have any ideas/suggestions/similar experiences? I have a little time to putz around, but need to make a decision sooner or later.


teejtc's picture

I ran a little tatting-supplies "store" for a while... enjoyed it, but - as you mentioned - it was a "wouldn't it be fun" venture. Fun, but - at my current stage of life - it isn't worth the time and energy.

My guess is that buying stock from the closing LYS will be a relatively minor part of the process. The question will be whether or not you'll be able to inherit that store's distributor accounts. I can be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to open an account up with most distributors and they demand a minimum amount of sales each year (or each quarter, depending on the company.) You'll surely want to have accounts with several.

If you're going to get into it (either big or small), buying out the LYS's stock *MAY* be a good way to jump start your business without having an account with the distributor, however you won't be able to reorder until you do.

On a side note, you'll want to decide what your level of liability is. If you determine it to be very minor, you can probably start out with a DBA (very inexpensive)... but liability risks will likely demand you eventually incorporate (can be expensive depending on your state).

I hope you don't read this as discouragement. Who knows, you may be the next big thing in knitting supplies!! Just a tiny bit of my own experience (don't forget, I started out by saying I "enjoyed it" - and I'm a fairly honest guy) :-)

Grace and Peace,

negativitysucks's picture

It's a very difficult business to make profitable. And from the description, your best bet (and this is a total longshot) is to run the business online, which would involve filling orders in your free time each day. However, with the glut of online yarn shops, it's not very promising.
I really do like looking on the bright side so I wish I had some good advice, but sometimes, the best advice is to advise against such an enormous risk.
On the other hand, if you could buy a bunch of the current stock wholesale, you could wind up with an enviable stash. But if you're short on space, this is also a dubious venture :-)
Wishing you the best, whatever you decide to do.


kylewilliam's picture

here's the most important "reality check" - the stock that's left after a business closes is most likely not the desirable stock. I think of fiber "stuff" as fashion - it is seasonal and most product won't be the same year after year...

IF you decided to buy anything, the only items I'd consider purchasing would be notions and ONLY if the deal was really good (remember, if you delve into the world of owning a shop you will be able to buy things at cost... AND you'll get new product instead of possibly shopworn product)...

I will share this also with you - I bought ALL my LYS shops bamboo circular and straight needles when she went out of business - thinking I could sell them online and make a few dollars... to my surprise, noone wants them... end of the story is that I have a box FULL of lots of needles... and I give them away... donated a chunk of them... and have tons left. I don't regret buying the needles, but it didn't turn into the business adventure I expected :)

last bit of advice - don't spend more money on these things more than you are able to afford...

BEST of luck and keep us all informed of your adventure!




Jim L's picture

Thanks for the insight. In speaking with the current owner, she made it rather clear that she thought she had too much stock - and much of it I wouldn't want for starting out. She also was in no way pressuring me to consider buying even half of it, in fact, she felt just like y'all do and made it clear that she had a lot of specialty yarns which wouldn't sell - quickly anyway.

But I am glad to hear of your experiences. Surely you understand my concern - online shops are great if you've purchased a particular brand before and know what you're getting. But to touch it... now that's something else.