The pandemic sent Spun owners Pete and Carol Sickman-Garner into overdrive.
Early on, they shifted much of their in-person yarn business to their newly minted website, offering pickup for local customers.
Once they were able to open to customers, they reconfigured their Kerrytown shop to accommodate social distancing rules, ditching their communal tables and other features.
But Spun is no longer cramped for space. In late May, the Sickman-Garners relocated to the first-floor location previously occupied by Hollander’s.
Once just 1,000 square feet upstairs, Spun now occupies triple that amount. It also has two entrances–one inside Kerrytown’s Market Building, the other in the Godfrey Building facing Fourth Ave.
The move has long been front of mind, Pete emails. “Even before the pandemic, we had mentioned to [Kerrytown owner Joe O’Neal] that if a bigger space came up, we’d be interested.”
In the five years since Spun opened, “we saw demand for many products that we didn’t have room to carry,” he writes. “We did our best to stuff the original shop with new items, but it became so crowded that it started to have an impact on everyone’s experience, guests and staff alike.”
Spun also had a greater demand for classes than its available space could accommodate.
When Hollander’s spot came open, “it became a guessing game–will the pandemic recede to the point where the economy can open enough to make it work, and when will that happen? So, we watched the news, read everything we could from the CDC and other sources and, eventually, took the risk.”
Along with many new colors and types of yarn, they’ve added a selection of cross-stitch and other embroidery kits and supplies, fiber for spinning, spinning wheels, drop spindles, and Cricket weaving looms, used to make fabric.
There’s now a dedicated learning space with tables that can accommodate up to fifteen people when in-person classes resume this month. They plan to offer more than three dozen sessions, ranging from beginning knit and crochet classes to ‘project-focused ones. There also will be basic spinning and weaving classes as well as in-person private lessons.
An especially exciting feature is the Fourth Ave. entrance, which will let people stay for classes after the rest of the building closes. This month, Spun will extend its evening hours from Monday through Thursday; watch its website or Facebook page for updates.
Along with drop-in sessions, the store will offer Tuesday night sweater clinics, and a beginners’ roundtable on Wednesdays. For those still wary of coming in, they’re continuing to offer pickup and curbside collection.
Writes Pete: “We have re-launched everything we do, and then some.”
Upstairs in the Godfrey Building, Heather Dupuis has opened the Pilates Barn & Wellness–the successor to her Vie Fitness & Spa locations on Ashley downtown and in Arbor Hills Crossing on Washtenaw.
Along with one-on-one instructors, spinning, and Pilates classes, Vie was one of the first places in town to sell upscale Lululemon workout gear, along with a variety of skin and body products. When Dupuis installed a smoothie bar and added spa treatments, Vie became a hangout for its clients as much as a fitness studio.
Now she’s going back to the basics. The Pilates Barn–the name refers to both the vintage barn she still hopes to find, and the onetime warehouse’s open space and industrial feel–will concentrate on Pilates instruction, one-on-one training and nutrition counseling, with group classes taught virtually.
“I’m very excited about this new chapter and lifestyle,” Dupuis said in an email. “No retail. No juice bar. No spa.”
From a staff of fifty-eight, spread between her two previous locations, Dupuis now will employ just fourteen people, leaving her time to advise fitness clients and spend less time managing the business.
“The new business will be very simple, which is my new obsession since the pandemic,” Dupuis says. “It will be a different experience–no doubt!”
Spun, 410 N. Fourth Ave., (734) 780-7867. Hours through mid-August: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. spunannarbor.com