We’ll be spending the next few Fridays in PA, where we’ve had a great response to our request for stories and photos from our retailers.
Pin #3 on our map is SuzyB Knits at 52 Clarion St. in Smicksburg, PA. Thank you so much, Susan, for taking the time to share your story!
FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?
SBK: Why SuzyB Knits: my grandmother and aunts always called me Suzy, even though my given name was Susan. Why the B? Well, my middle name begins with B, but, as many who have come to know me understand, I love a little “BLING” in everything so the “B” is truly for the “BLING!” And, the Knits, of course….it is “nuttin’ but knit” in my world.
The shop was born after the local yarn shop that I worked at closed. And, well, see, my husband and I had purchased this house across the street from that shop in 2004 so that I could have an easy commute to work. What a life: get up and walk across the street to the greatest job in a yarn shop! When my employment ended there the decision was made (with a lot of encouragement from my mom, Nancy) to continue doing what I love to do. “Everyone should be able to live their passion to its fullest.” So, with my mother’s encouragement, SuzyB Knits became a reality in 2007. Our beginning was quite humble: a tent in the yard during the towns’ festival weekends selling my handspun and hand dyed yarns and hand knit items, and teaching knitting on the front porch. But Nancy, my mom, believed in me and encouraged me to convert a room in the house into a shop so that I could be open regular hours. It became a reality that I could never have imagined without my mom’s encouragement. In November of 2009 we were in full swing and celebrated with the Smicksburg Christmas Open House. It was a huge success. This was truly a successful event because my mom was there to see the dream unfold and my business dreams take flight. Sadly, my mom passed away in December of 2009 of pancreatic cancer. She is a main part of my inspiration, and knowing that she was here to witness the launch of this dream carries me through every day.
FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?
SBK: SuzyB Knits began with my own handspun and hand dyed yarn, but I believe in supporting small cottage industries and companies that support a cause so I stock a variety of hand dyed yarns from various dye artists. My inventory is not the basic stock of yarn. As I said, I love bling., so you will find and abundance of sparkle, bling and novelty in my shop. What would life be without some sparkle to illuminate those dreary days? Oh, and I must not forget my all time favorite employee who greets everyone with a smile! (see below)
FF&WY: What do you love about your town? If a visitor came from out of town, which places near you would you suggest that they visit?
SBK: Smicksburg is a world apart and somewhat “off the grid,” so you won’t find a bar of cell phone service here. However, it makes for the perfect retreat to get away from the fast pace. It is an old order Amish community so if you are fascinated with the Amish, here is the place to see them as they were before they became caught up in modern living. We are a small town, but are truly blessed with two wonderful restaurants to dine at. There are two great pottery shops and a variety of other shops in town. It is quiet and a wonderful place to spend the day just knitting on the porch at SuzyB Knits.
FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs? Does someone bring the best cookies ever and want to share their recipe?
SBK: We have a knit day which is 1 pm to 6pm+ on Saturdays or Sundays. It is determined by what day suits best for that given week. Newbies are always welcome, but it is advised to call in advance to be sure of which day. We occasionally do a pot luck. Even though we are “off the grid,” we have managed to get pizza delivery which is always on the menu.
FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?
SBK: Right now everyone seems to be working on the “Rings Around Cowl” out of the Cheshire Cat fingering Mini Skein Packs.
FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand (yes, this is a trick question)? 🙂
SBK: I have developed a true love for Wonderland Yarns Unicorn and Cheshire Cat, but I am also kinda partial to Mango Moon, Be Sweet, and Dale Garn (since I’ve designed a few patterns for them), and I also love Mountain Colors and Great Adirondack. Oops, I can’t leave out SuzyB Knits handspun! 🙂
You can visit SuzyB Knits at 52 Clarion St. in Smicksburg, PA, or give a ring at 814-257-8326 to check in about the next knit night.
Again, thank you, Susan, for sharing your story with us. We’re sure your mother is proudly watching over you as you live your fiber dream!
Pin #4 will drop on Main Street Yarn in Rebersburg, PA!