Yarns of Wilmington provides a colorful outlet
Yarns of Wilmington is a bright space filled with beautiful, upscale yarns, needlepoint canvases, and threads. Add to that its friendly, fun staff, and the store has become a favorite spot for local stitchers as well as those visiting from out of town.
Yarns of Wilmington’s current owner, LESLIE BRANCH, was drawn to the shop when she moved here twenty-two years ago. As a lifelong stitcher–Branch learned cross stitch from one grandmother and knitting from the other–she made it a habit to check out needlework shops whenever she was in a new locale. Once Branch made Wilmington her home, she became a regular customer at Yarns of Wilmington. However, it wasn’t long before Branch started working at the store part-time, and in 2018 she offered to buy it.
“I thought the business could use a little revamp,” Branch says.
Once Branch took over, she sought a space where the shop’s goods could be displayed better. It took a couple of moves, but now the store’s yarns and needlepoint supplies are arranged for optimal viewing.
“I wanted to honor the canvases and yarns,” Branch says.
Branch also updated the store’s inventory. She brought in new, high-quality, luxury yarns, including some hand-dyed yarns made by a Hampstead knitter. Another change was expanding the store’s needlepoint supplies, which currently encompass canvases from noted designers; hand-painted canvases; crafted leather goods such as key fobs and jewelry boxes that can be adorned with needlepoint canvases; and a huge assortment of threads and fibers.
To further give customers the best in stitchery, Branch hosts trunk shows. At these events, needlepoint vendors display hundreds of canvases and yarn vendors show off their new yarns as well as hats, scarves, and sweaters that are made from them.
Another change was bringing on new staff who met Branch’s requirements: they had to have expertise in needlework and be helpful, friendly, and happy. It was a winning formula. Both new and experienced stitchers feel right at home in the yarn shop.
The staff is central to customers’ affection for Yarns of Wilmington, according to Branch. Someone is always on hand to assist them, whether they need help choosing a pattern, finding the perfect yarn for a project (online if it isn’t available in the store), or mastering a stitch or correcting a mistake, she says.
Branch also offers classes such as ornament finishing and embellishment through which stitchers can refine and expand their skills; and she holds open houses at which people can get help with their projects.
Branch is full of ideas to make Yarns of Wilmington even better. She hopes to bring back the knitting and crochet circles that were disbanded during COVID, and she may build an online store for her yarns, canvases, and threads.
Under Branch’s guidance, Yarns of Wilmington is more than a store. It’s a world that offers camaraderie and the best in needlework supplies.
“Everyone who comes into the store is helped,” Branch says. “It’s family-like. It’s friendly. People like that and the attention they get and being helped. We care about them and about their projects.”
To view more of photographer Logan Burke’s work, go to LoganBurkePhoto.com
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