PLATTSBURGH — A local business owner has enjoyed her first year in business downtown.
Susan Coonrod opened Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts at 16 Brinkerhoff St. the second week of July 2012. She has long been an avid knitter, and enjoys the craft with her daughter, Rosie DeLise.
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“I grew up with my mother (Margaret McCaw) and grandmother (Alma Coonrod) making everything,” she said.
As she approached retirement from Beekmantown Central School, where she was Middle School principal and an art teacher, she made the decision to open the store.
“If you don’t do it now, you’re never going to do it,” Coonrod told herself.
Owned Essex shop
Coonrod said she had owned a small gift shop in Essex one summer in the late ‘90s, so she knew how to open and operate a business. She used input from her daughter and other friends to decide what yarns she should carry.
The goal was to carry affordable, quality yarns and a variety of fibers, as well as high-end fibers such as bamboo and alpaca. Some of her best-selling yarns include Plymouth, Cascade, Malabrigo, Brown Sheep, Berroco, Rowan, James C. Brett, Trendsetter and Universal Yarns.
Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts carries locally made products from places such as Brown Dog Fiber Arts Studio and Mountain Meadows Farm in Ray Brook.
There is also a full line of knitting and crocheting supplies, including interchangeable sets of knitting needles.
“Circular needles are becoming the thing. They are now more popular than straight needles,” Coonrod said.
Coonrod offers handmade stoneware she makes under the Earth Mother label. That includes bowls, mugs, pins, stitch markers and more. She said yarn bowls are popular gifts to give to any knitting enthusiast.
“I couldn’t keep them on the shelves before Christmas,” Coonrod said.
Offers local products
There are several Earth Mother Clothing Company items on display. Those are billed as recycled, comfortable, fun, one-of-a-kind garments.
Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts also offers a number of locally manufactured products. Those include art cards made by DeLise under the name Atomic Whale Designs, knitting bags by Renee Hall and Julie Fredette, yarn swifts by Dave Devoe and Sharon Roraback, tote bags by McCaw and crocheted bookmarks by Carole Meccio, the latter of which are to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The shop has received a warm reception from knitting enthusiasts.
“The customers who came in spread the word like wildfire,” Coonrod said. “They were so happy to have a yarn shop in Plattsburgh.”
Two community service projects are near and dear to her heart. She started the Keep Kids Warm project last year to provide mittens, hats and scarves to children at nine local elementary schools and the local Women, Infants and Children office.
The effort started with a simple donation box at the shop, which quickly filled up repeatedly. More than 300 items were donated as of March.
The second is The Knockers Project. She and other volunteers knit prosthetic breasts that are given to the Fitzpatrick Cancer Center at CVPH Medical Center for those who have had breast cancer.
The Knockers Project is a nation-wide campaign she learned about from a friend and breast-cancer survivor.
Sale to be held
Coonrod is holding a first-anniversary sale, with green tags marking sale prices that are good until Aug. 15.
Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts offers a number of classes and workshops.
“This area is crafty. There are many people who like to do things with their hands,” she said.
The schedule is available on the website, www.plattsburghyarnandgifts.com.
Coonrod is a participant in the recently re-launched downtown business owners coalition, the Downtown Business Visitors Association. She said it has been nice to meet the various business owners and learn about what they have to offer, experiences that can’t be found at many larger businesses.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of this organization,” Coonrod said. “I think downtown can become a destination all of its own.”
She is also taking part in the First Weekend events organized by the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts and Adirondack Young Professionals. Coonrod said it has been nice to see how many people have been attracted to the area by the street musicians and discounts at local businesses.
Community support cited
She is extremely appreciative of all the customers who have visited the shop.
“I really thank the community for supporting my effort. It has been a humbling experience.”
Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts accepts cash, checks and major credit cards, and gift certificates are available. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, visit www.plattsburghyarnandgifts.com or call 563-3647.
Email Dan Heath:email@example.com