We had the good fortune of connecting with Ginger Hayes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ginger, what do you attribute your success to?
From Day One I have emphasized community. We are not only a yarn and knitting accessories shop, but a gathering spot for people to come and get help with a pattern, fix a problem, plan a new project, or just come socialize with other knitters for awhile. We treat people like guests in our home–offering them coffee or water, asking about their knitting, talking about what’s going on with them, and recommending good spots for lunch. We have six scheduled Knit Togethers each week where knitters can come and join other knitters for a time of socializing and knitting. During the Covid shutdown, all six of these sessions moved online where we continued to offer a way for people to connect over their love of knitting. In July of 2020 we move into a much larger location where we could have a dedicated space where people could come knit anytime the shop was open. We are open 7 days a week and it is very rare that the space is not in use. Making the decision to put people first has been the biggest reason for our success.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are known for our hospitality, welcome environment, helpful staff, and the community that has formed due to these things. We are also known for our yarn selection which is mostly made of up natural fibers, and includes well-known brands as well yarn from small independent hand dyers. When we moved to our new space in July 2020, we had the space to add a second business (Downtown Dry Goods) for fabrics to our offerings. Quilting has been a passion of mine for a long time and I was very happy to add fabrics for both quilting and garments to the shop.
My plan had always been to open a quilting shop, but as a stay-at-home mom of 4 kids and a husband whose career meant frequent moves, this dream had to stay planted in my head for awhile. After moving to McKinney, Texas as empty nesters, once again my desire for a quilt shop was kept on hold as there were two very nice shops within a couple miles of my home. It wasn’t until I needed knitting needles for a project that I realized there was not a yarn shop in the area, so it became my desire to open a yarn shop. A few years later, both quilt shops closed and the opportunity became available to move to our current space. It didn’t take long to fill the additional space with more yarn, and fabric!
I am very pleased at the reputation we have gained and the growth we have experienced in 6 years. I love our new location which is a 120-yr-old building which we renovated in 2020. Removing the 1960s from the space and bringing back some of the charm to the space was quite the project, but we were able to create the perfect backdrop for yarns and fabric in the historic downtown where we are located.
Our growth was fairly quick, so the biggest challenge has been staying on top of it. We used the downtime during the Covid shutdown to take inventory and transition to a new point-of-sale system that included e-commerce. Having our products online has added another opportunity to grow sales beyond our immediate area. I always feel like I’m playing a little bit of catch up, but enjoy those days when I can spend time looking to the future and making plans for what’s next!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
McKinney is a gem! It earned the title of Best Place to Live in the US from Money Magazine in 2014 for good reason. The Historic Downtown Square is so charming and has great shopping and restaurants. Just walking the Square makes for an enjoyable day, but of course any visitor would need to shop and eat.
I love Snug for breakfast, Patina Green for lunch (making sure to point out their bathroom which has been used for wedding pictures!), and then Cadillac Pizza Pub for dinner. Live music is popular in the area. Cadillac Pizza Pub brings in several live acts each week. It’s a small space, so a great way to see an up-and-comer or a favorite local musician. I can’t imagine still being hungry, so maybe Emporium Pies would need to wait for another day.
When walking around the Square, there are several shops where I always stop to see what’s new. The Antique Company Mall has an ever-changing mix of antiques. Ambrosia is a home decor shop with a little bit of clothing and baby items. Cotton Hearts is the cutest little shop of unique clothing options. Mom & Popcorn is like walking into a candy shop from years’ past. Their McKinney mix popcorn is a blend of Jalapeno Cheese and Caramel Corn and while it’s very good, my favorite is the Espresso Caramel Corn.
After a day or two of shopping and eating, a rest day combined with a walk may be in order. Towne Lake is accessible by foot or car from the downtown area. There is a 1.2 mile path around the lake, and plenty of ducks and geese to entertain. If the weather is right, turtles can be seen sunning themselves on the shore. It’s not uncommon to see hot air balloons overhead and sometimes they will even touch down on the water which is fun to see.
If a visitor enjoyed beer, there are two micro-breweries nearby. One is Tupps and they are located next to the historic Cotton Mill which is a beautiful location for a wedding or business event. On weekends they many times will have food trucks and live music along with their many beer selections. The other is Franconia and they give tours every Saturday. For a nominal fee you get a Franconia beer glass, and after the tour, the taps are open for help-yourself beer tastings. The owner is from a beer making family in Germany and it’s a treat to hear about traditional German beer-making told with a German accent.
A drive around the Historic District in downtown McKinney reveals many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes. The Chestnut Square Heritage Village is the home of many vintage homes as well as a chapel, blacksmith shop, and a couple goats and chickens. It is also the home of the McKinney Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning from 8-12. In addition to fresh, local produce for sale, the pastries by the Rosemary Baker are a must! There are usually cheeses, honey, tamales, dog treats, and many other tempting offerings.
The Collin County History Museum, located in an old post office, tells the story of McKinney’s history in a self-guided tour. The Heard Museum is a short drive from downtown and is a great place for little ones to burn off a little energy and learn about dinosaurs, butterflies, and wildlife.
The downtown also has several tours available at different times of the year. There are the annual Garden and Home Tours in Spring and December, the Chicken Coop Tour, the Chestnut Square Heritage Village Tour, a couple companies offering food tours, and even a ghost tour in the fall!
The downtown area is a major draw for locals and tourists alike. There are many outdoor areas to sit and relax while sipping a sweet iced tea or coffee. Sometimes that’s the best way to enjoy the day with a friend!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people have embraced me and the shop since opening in 2015. Customers have provided support and encouragement, an amazing staff that understands and promotes my emphasis on community, and my husband who has taught and coached me through much of the business side of things. He has taken on many behind-the-scenes tasks so I can concentrate on customers and keeping the storefront looking good. I was out of the work force for over 20 years raising a family, so I had a lot of catching up to do!
Kalie Evelyn Stufflebean