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Yarn store to close doors

Yarn store The Black Purl is to close its doors for good.

The popular specialist shop for knitting and crocheting enthusiasts on Old Cellar Lane in Hamilton will shut down tomorrow at the end of the business day.

Owner Cindy Ashton announced the closure this week a day after a deal to sell the store fell through.

“That was a little devastating, but I got through the day,” she says. “And then I thought ‘well, it was meant to be'.”

Ms Ashton, 63, launched the store in September 2016 after her husband, David, passed away suddenly. She says she is now embarking on a new chapter in her life that will include travelling to see family and friends in the United States.

“I wasn't old enough to sit and hibernate, or to join the other old widows on the island,” Ms Ashton says of her decision to open the shop.

“I needed a purpose, and it has been the best thing for me. I have made a whole new circle of friends, and I have a whole new outlook on life as I go into a new chapter. It served its purpose in the healing process, so it's time to move on.

“On the other side, I feel so sad because I have so many customers here and abroad who have left comments on Facebook, or have emailed to say ‘we will miss you and good luck'.”

Ms Ashton, who formerly ran Greenbank Guest House and Cottages at Salt Kettle, Paget with her husband, said former guests of the property would drop into the shop for a chat, as would many residents of the island.

“It became a nice social spot for friends and customers and fellow knitters. That is what I'm especially going to miss,” she says.

“For me, it became a place to go to every day, to have a purpose, and to meet with friends, make new friends and satisfy your customers. Most everyone who came in was delighted to see the good quality yarns.

“People would say ‘this is my happy place, I feel like I'm in someone's home'. That is a nice thing to create. How can you not be sad when you close down something like this?”

On Wednesdays, a regular group arrived to knit and chat. “Sometimes, girls visit for hours,” Ms Ashton chuckles. “We call them the groupies.”

New knitters were welcome, too. “As a group, we would all be around the table offering assistance, suggestions, and encouragement.”

Ms Ashton, who said the store's closing is not due to a downturn in retail, will keep regular hours through Saturday, and will be at the location next week to dismantle the shop. “But if people want to pop in, that's fine,” she says.

All stock is offered at 30 per cent off. “People can stock up on their stash,” Ms Ashton says.

While Saturday marks the end of the store, it doesn't mean the end of the knitting circle.

“The store has been good for me and good for the community,” Ms Ashton says. “I am really going to miss it, but I'm excited too.

“We will still get together for weekly knitting at someone's home, or at one of the cafes.”

The Black Purl is open through Saturday from 11am until 4pm on Old Cellar Lane, 47 Front Street.

Calling it a day: Cindy Ashton, owner of The Black Purl, which closes its doors at the close of business tomorrow (File photograph)

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Published March 13, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated March 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm)

Yarn store to close doors

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