A dreary week did not deter Melissa Totten, of Mill Point, from celebrating the opening of her craft supply store as Melissa’s Knits and Hobby, LLC [MKH] opened its door for the first time April 5.
Warmth – radiating from a small space heater – invited customers inside out of the temperamental April weather, and as they stepped through the front door, walls lined with bins of colorful yarn; racks of brushes, hooks, needles and more; shelves of canvases, easels and paints drew them in for a closer look.
A colorful table – ladened with an assortment of baked goods – encourages customers to take off their coats and browse a while. A rack of crocheting and knitting accessories, such as needle tip protectors and stitch holders were within view of the refreshments.
From her three years experience as a crafter, Totten recognized the county’s need for a local craft store. Her experience highlighted the difficulties in finding craft supplies locally. For Totten and other residents located in the southern end of the county, the closest supply stores are located in Lewisburg.
“I quickly realized that if I was having trouble finding what I needed, there were others who were probably in the same boat,” she added. “Things just fell into place from there, and I took it as a sign that maybe this was something I was meant to do.”
Totten first considered the idea of opening her own business last September, and she has spent the past seven months working to get her business up and running. The store’s interior took nearly a month to set up, but before Totten could begin the process of readying her business for opening day, she first had to decide on the products MKH would offer.
It might seem that selecting a store’s inventory would be an easy task, but Totten quickly discovered that it was quite the opposite.
“It was actually very difficult to decide what I should offer in my store,” she said with a laugh, “There were just so many options, and in the end, I had to go through a process of elimination.”
According to Totten, determining her store’s goods began with a visit to different yarn manufacturers’ websites. Browsing the wide variety of paint and skeins, Totten’s preliminary visits allowed her to formulate a basis for what she could offer at MKH, and it was once she had loaded her carts with a variety of brands, colors and – in the case of crocheting and knitting – textures – that Totten began the process of narrowing her store’s focus.
Much of the elimination depended on what each manufacturer had to offer. If one brand had a limited amount of options available, Totten did her best to fill in the gaps with other brands and offer her customers an array of yarn.
“Some people prefer the cheaper brands,” she explained, “while others like the more expensive ones. It’s important to have something for everyone, so I try to carry a little bit of everything.”
In addition to popular yarn brands – such as Bernat, Caron and Lion Brand – MKH offers its customers a wide selection of yarn fibers to choose from, as well. Pink tags draw the eye to bins filled with skeins of 100 percent acrylic, cotton and wool – as well as 100 percent mercerized and the occasional blend – and for those who enjoy cross-stitching and embroidery, a colorful selection of threads can be found at the front of the store.
“I tried to accumulate a nice variety,” Totten said. “I wanted to make sure I could offer everything that people might need in order to crochet, knit and paint. I’m still missing a couple of things, but I have a running list for next time.”
In addition to crocheting, embroidery, knitting and painting accessories and supplies, customers are able to browse MKH’s bookshelf for adult coloring books – created to help adults de-stress – instructional “how-to” videos and pattern books.
To celebrate the store’s grand opening, daily door prizes were awarded throughout the week.
Curious visitors and paying customers alike placed their names in a small canister on the front desk for a chance to win. Winners were drawn at the end of the day and given a choice between either a crocheting-/knitting- or painting-based prize. Once the names were drawn and their prize had been chosen, each day’s entries were added to a larger canister for a chance to win Saturday’s grand prize – an original storage tote by Elma Hefner, or a standing easel and a 16” x 20” canvas.
Jenny Simmons was the winner on Tuesday, and she chose a brush cleaning system as her prize. Deb Ann Walker, of Deb Ann’s Fabrics, drew Trudy Hefner as the winner of Wednesday’s $10 gift certificate, and on Thursday, Jim Burton, of Burton’s Enterprises, pulled Julia Williams’ name – who, given the choice of a paint palette or a crochet pattern book and yarn, chose the palette.
Hillsboro Mayor Ann Walker won a Zenspirations: Expressions of Faith adult coloring book on Friday, and at 1:45 p.m., Simmons’ name was drawn as the winner of the grand prize. To accompany her brush cleaning system, Simmons chose the easel and canvas as her prize.
Melissa’s Knits and Hobby, LLC, is located at 37 Hill Street in Hillsboro. The store is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Totten can be reached at 304-653-4150.
Cailey Moore may be contacted at email@example.com.