Just north of Ninth Ave., on the corner of Manning and Eighth, the small shop is easy to pass by. Mulberry Creek started as a gift shop. But when Susan Phillips and Trish Meier began to sell yarn and knitters emerged from the woodwork. As the craft materials caught on, the shop was transformed.
“I never thought I’d be a yarn shop owner, but it’s a blast,” said Phillips.
The pair met several years ago in another business venture, a gift shop called Off the Beaten Path. The shop didn’t catch on and eventually closed after six years of business. A year later, Phillips and Meier began Mulberry Creek in a shared space.
The small shop not only sells the supplies, but also offers classes in a cozy, friendly atmosphere. Knitting, crocheting, and quilting classes are available. Those who already know how are encouraged to join “Group Therapy” on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “We just sit and do our stitching together,” said Phillips.
An entire class schedule can be found on their official website, mulberrycreek.net. College students are encouraged to learn. Natalie Eldridge, business freshman, won’t be joining a class anytime soon. “I feel as if I don’t have time to do that,” she said.
And Phillips understands that, because like anything, it is a skill that takes time to learn. “It’s difficult to learn anything. It’s a will to want to,” she said.
Will is something these ladies have in spades. Phillips says the biggest challenge is getting people into the store, especially when so many shop online or at larger chains. “I think people are starting to recognize that the mom and pop stores are suffering,” she said.
The biggest draw for customers is the service. Personalized, one-on-one help and advice is available at Mulberry Creek. Phillips says that whenever someone buys something that they don’t know how to use, she’s more than happy to sit right down and teach them. “You don’t get the kind of service at Walmart that you get here,” she said.
That ties right into Phillips’ favorite part about the store, the people. Friendships are built through the Saturday morning “therapies” and the visits of regular customers. “I’m not really a business person. I just love this,” said Phillips.
Mulberry Creek is a great place to visit, especially at this time of year. For the college student who has a tight pocketbook and the wish to give gifts, crafts are a great solution. They are priceless, something made by your hands. And you never know what kind of legacy you could be creating. “You can make an heirloom,” said Phillips.
Jamaika Tagg, nursing freshman, agrees. “It seems like a tradition I could start with my grandma. She crochets, so it could be a bonding thing between us,” she said.
Erin Morris is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org