Marie Downes is spinning a new yarn at Knitknack on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.
Downes recently purchased the business from its founder Meera Kothari who is headed for California with her family.
Originally Kothari announced in April that Knitknack was closing. “Everyone was so depressed,” said Kothari, who had spent seven years building the business.
Downes, a loyal customer who lives in Bayonne and worked in Jersey City, had other ideas. On a purchasing visit (“I’ve been coming here for five year,” said Downes, “I don’t go anywhere else”), Downes asked Kothari if the business might be for sale.
Kothari was skeptical at first.
“It takes a really specific person to run this business,” she said. “You need vision, enthusiasm, passion.” Kothari quickly realized that Downes was that person. She slipped Downes a piece of paper with a price.
“I didn’t do that with anybody else,” said Kothari.
That was mid-May. Things moved quickly and Downes was taking over and paying rent by June.
“I’m glad. There was no time to second guess,” said Downes.
With the help of her team, she’s repainted and re-staged the store. Downes is still looking to add a couch near the front window. During her 21 years as a middle school band teacher in Jersey City, Downes’ band room was a sanctuary for her students. She plans on making Knitknack the same for the fiber arts community.
Downes will offer quality yarns and supplies for sale in store — and online come September. She will also host a plethora of knitting, crocheting and spinning classes and knitting and crocheting circles. Expanded hours will make it easier for locals and out-of-towners to shop and visit.
Downes says she will miss her kids in Jersey City. “If I could adopt every student….” she mused. But she feels great pride in the thousands of lives she touched through teaching and is looking forward to impacting thousands more through her store.
Find out more at knitknackyarn.biz.
Knitknack, 1914 Springfield Avenue, Maplewood, NJ – 973.327.2271
Monday 12-8 p.m.
Tuesday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Wednesday – closed
Thursday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Friday 12-8 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.