- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - In order to pursue their passion, Pete and Carol Sickman-Garner had to let their day jobs go.

Pete quit his marketing job at Zingerman’s and Carol stopped her career as a higher education journal freelance editor, and the result is a new yarn store in Kerrytown Market and Shops.

Pete said it is the only store in Ann Arbor that sells only yarn.

“There are places that sell yarn, but we’ll be the only strictly yarn store,” he told The Ann Arbor News ( https://bit.ly/1OqmmFh ). “When we first moved here there were four of those stores. Pretty much every town this size has a store like this.”

The idea for the store was birthed nearly a year ago, when both Pete and Carol decided to take a look at the paths of their respective careers.

The time to reflect made them think that they might want to change careers, and possibly work together.

“We’ve worked together in the past, and if we were both getting ready to make a career change then this felt like a good opportunity for us to do something together.” Carol said.

Carol grew up on a farm, and said she has always been interested in knitting and knowing where the yarn she was buying was coming from.

“Using yarn where you can trace it all the way back to the sheep is sort of a cool thing for me,” she said.

The original plan was for Pete not to quit his job, but when a space became available in Kerrytown Market, he realized that this could be a more ambitious project than just selling a few skeins of yarn.

“Pete stopped working Nov. 2 and I sent my last book back Nov. 3,” Carol said. “We’ve been hectically scrambling ever since.”

When it comes to the venue, Kerrytown market wasn’t always going to be the place where they had their shop.

“We knew we couldn’t afford anything on State Street or Main Street,” Pete said. “We looked at some promising places on Plymouth or Jackson Roads, but then this space in Kerrytown opened up.”

The space was just what the Sickman-Garners were looking for.

“It’s a great location for local businesses,” Pete said. “As a consumer, whenever I go in there I feel like every store is owned by someone who is trying to do something cool.”

Carol said the shop is focusing on supplying brands that track what their sheep are fed, how they raised and where they come from.

“We’ll have some bigger brands because we need to cover all of our bases,” Carol said. “But I like having someone make something for someone, and being able to trace it all the way back,because sometimes it’s hard to know what we’re using or consuming comes from.

“That’s the most interesting part to me. Some companies are incredibly invested in where they get they’re wool.”

Carol said prices for a skein of yarn will cost from $6.50 to a little more than $30, depending on thickness, quality and length.

“There’s a wide range (in prices),” she said. “We want there to be something here for everyone.”

The store will have three full-time employees in addition to the Sickman-Garners.

“Friends and family have really pitched in,” Pete said. “We’re not very used to asking for help, but we realized pretty quickly we need to become those people.”


Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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