Last month, my LYS closed its doors for good. I cannot put into words just how much this has affected me emotionally. That store was my home away from home - cliche, but true. I knew that no matter what, I could always drop by and find a welcome. The owners and the other regulars were my friends and I loved knowing that Lee, Liz, and Lindsay would always be in on a Friday night, and that Marianne worked on Saturday, and Teresa and Victoria would be there on Sunday.
The store was open for over six years, which is admittedly a good run for a yarn store.
But this does leave a giant hole in my life. There are other LYS in the area but none as convenient. I visited a few this past weekend, hoping to find the same welcoming atmosphere but failed.
The first I went to was (1) too far away to be a regular spot, and (2) made me extremely uncomfortable because of how the owner was behaving toward her daughter, who was helping out in the store.
The second was (1) not as far away as the first but still farther than I wanted to travel, (2) very small and (3) probably related to #2, full of mostly high-end yarn. I'm used to pricey yarn but I like stores to have a range of product. Instead, most of the shelf space was full of Madelinetosh, which is lovely and I own many skeins of it myself - but does set the tone a bit for the feel of the store.
While there is one more store I want to try, to the north of me by about 20 minutes, I am not very hopeful that I'll find a new LYS. There is two stores I particularly like - one in the city and one in Northern Virgnia - but are far too much effort to travel to regularly.
In the meantime, some of the regulars have opened their homes for regular get-togethers so I'm still seeing my friends and chatting over yarn. But... it's honestly just not the same.