Wednesday, 21 February 2007

A Lunchtime stroll to the LYS

This post is going to be fairly Canberra-centric, but might well be of interest to non-Canberrans, too since it’s all about developing a relationship with your Local Yarn Store (LYS).

I’m in Barton, so it’s a 10-15 minute walk to Kingston to visit Cassidy’s. I often walk over there and just hang around, checking out yarn I’m not supposed to buy (damn yarn diet, grumble, mutter, grumble…), pattern books and needles. I find it next to impossible to walk out of there without at the very least a new set of DPNs, since Cassidy’s is good enough to have Brittany needles in stock, plus a nice selection of other kinds of DPNs.

Recently, I decided Cassidy’s was the best LYS ever, because I had a new set of pretty little bamboo DPNs that after just two weeks started to show signs of wear and then one of them developed a crack. I took them back, without a receipt because I’d tossed it out as soon as I got them home, and they gave me a replacement set on the spot, not even taking back the old ones, which had the sock I was working on still on them. How’s that for service?

By way of some context for non-locals, Cassidy’s isn’t really a yarn store. It’s one of those delightfully old fashioned creatures that you really only find now in small country towns. A haberdashery store. It’s got bits and pieces, some fairly regular style, everyday clothing, gloves, hankies, plain underwear, some sewing materials and of course, wool and needles.

So, onto today’s lunch time visit.

Several good things happened. The woman behind the counter saw me browsing through pattern books and came by to suggest I sit on one of the stools. Nice. Why didn’t I think of that?

Then, my nose inexplicably started running and rummaging in the cesspit of my handbag did not result in finding even an old, lipstick stained tissue. The woman behind the counter (I really should have found out her name) spotted my difficulty and provided me with a few tissues.

Again, I say, how’s that for service?

So I chose a new set of Brittany DPNs and while paying for them, got chatting. Without reproducing the entire conversation here, I can highlight the following points:

- The wool section is now staying at the Kingston store (won’t be going back to the Jamieson store after the refurbishment is completed there);

- They are really working hard at developing a good relationship with their regular knitting customers (i.e. I got a 50cent discount on my needles!);

-They would love to hear any suggestions for stuff they should get in. I told her how when they got Brittany needles in, we all emailed each other or talked about it at SnB, delighted at last to be able to buy them locally;

-They are aware that the Manuka store sucks. Ok, so Manuka gets all the fancy fibre in, but their service, even with new owners, continues to suck unimaginably. They have a stream of customers coming in telling them they refuse to go back there except for when they want to get something they can’t get at Cassidys;

To that end, Cassidy’s will happily get stuff in if we suggest it.

For some reason that now astounds me, I walked out of there without saying ‘please get Addi Turbos in’ so if any of you are in the store any time soon, ask the nice lady to order Addi Turbos because I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d love to be able to buy them locally without paying postage. I did mention that to her, that we all buy needles and yarn online that we’d probably rather buy locally, without postage and she called out to the store manager and told her as much.

And so the point of all this, besides chatting about Cassidy’s, is to say that I’m just loving the fact that not only does the global knitting community continue to astound me through blogs and the like, but the local community just gets better and better. I’m loving having a SnB to go to now – new friends, new knowledge etc etc but I’m also realising the value of a really good purveyor of fibre, needles and other goodies.

And speaking of global community, I sent a box of goodies to Julie in America and they arrived today. On her blog are a couple of really cute pictures of her daughter in the koala t-shirt I bought for her while she’s holding aloft a stuffed kangaroo I included in the box. Not only that, but I sent her a skein of Happy Spider’s laceweight and Julie apparently loves it and plans to use it for her State Fair entry this year.

How cool is that?