Long-time Bainbridge Retailer Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Moving to Kingston with a new Concept and Approach

Churchmouse image courtesy of the CYT websiteChurchmouse Yarns & Teas, the once iconic knitting store in Downtown Winslow, is on the move again, adding a new off-island address and adopting an innovative business concept to serve its loyal customer base, says the 24-year-old store’s chief operations officer and co-founder John Koval.

Come March, Churchmouse will open its new home in Kingston, at 6810 NE State Hwy 101, in a former nursery now occupied by Storie HG.

“We’re currently working to turn this lovely former nursery into a ‘working studio,’ where our talented staff can excel in sourcing beautiful yarns, designing thoughtful patterns, developing projects, creating samples, and hosting occasional in-person studio events,” says Koval, who started Churchmouse nearly 25 years ago with his wife and knitting enthusiast Kit Hutchins. “Kingston has lots of promise,” he adds, “it’s only 30 minutes away from (Downtown) Winslow.”

Churchmouse’s former retail outlet just behind Blackbird Bakery on Madrone Lane, closed its doors several years back in favor of taking the business online and operating out of its nearby headquarters at 179 Madrone Lane N Suite 100. That concept worked well, but as the times and logistics changed, the couple saw an opportunity to move in a new direction.

Churchmouse Yarns & Teas new location in Kingston
Churchmouse Yarns & Teas new location in Kingston

“Our Bainbridge store lasted 20 (plus) years,” Koval says matter-of-factly. “Now there are two other yarn stores. The mantle has passed.” The Lamb & Kid on Winslow Way and La Mercerize on Madison Avenue S. have opened for business in the last year or so, along with Celtic Crossroads NW.

“In order to make connecting with you a more personal experience, here’s how we’re evolving,” Koval explains:

  • Their packing and mailing will be done at a warehouse in Poulsbo by a professional company run by people Churchmouse knows personally.
  • This will free up more time for their Customer Care team to help you choose projects and solve problems by phone, email, and soon by video.
  • Once or twice a month they’ll host “open studios” (squeeze skeins, play with color swatches, try on samples…) and other events such as trunk shows, workshops, knit-alongs and guest speakers.
  • The new location is wide open with plenty of parking and gathering places. Also, on site the is an herbal aesthetician, a native tree nursery, and their landlord – Storie HG – will be creating periodic French-style vintage home and garden markets.

Churchmouse image courtesy of the CYT website 2“We’re envisioning summer weekends with live music, food, and friends,” Koval notes. “This is just the beginning of our plans, all made possible by you, our customers.” The Churchmouse staff of five full-timers will spend most of January moving in to their new digs, and much of February getting settled in, all in readiness for the store’s first “Open Studio” in March.

Koval says the decision to change directions came into focus when the store turned over its shipping to a Bainbridge Island company with a warehouse in Poulsbo. “Our offices in Winslow were too expensive to be used as a warehouse and with no store, the synergy was gone,” Koval explains. “We had talented knitters packing boxes – now they can help knitters over the phone and (via) email.”

“The new Churchmouse Studio will be a workplace where our merchandising, design and customer care people can find new ways to help you meet your crafting goals” Koval further adds. “Although our Studio won’t be a retail store, we’ll invite (customers) in once or twice a month for fun weekends with workshops and trunk shows and a peek at what’s coming online.”

Churchmouse’s Upcoming Schedule

  • “Moving In Sale” on Friday & Saturday, January 26 & 27.
  • “Open Studio” on Friday & Saturday, February 23 & 25.
  • Trunk Shows & Workshops two weekends in March (TBD).

BICoC - TIWBFor more information on Churchmouse, visit: https://www.churchmouseyarns.com/

*Images courtesy of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

If you’d like to learn more about Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, visit our previous article: Join Churchmouse Yarns & Teas for the 2019 LYS Tour | THE ISLAND WANDERER

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