A few months ago, Main Street America (MSA) announced the first-round recipients of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant, a program designed to fund solutions that help merchants respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, 67 brick-and-mortar small businesses, ranging from bakeries and boutiques to salons and museums, received grant awards. MSA selected seven grant recipients and sought to learn more about their businesses, grant projects and words of wisdom they’d share with other small business owners. Excitingly, one of those small businesses was Center of the Yarniverse, owned by Stacey Williamson, in Ashland, Virginia.
During her Q&A session, Williamson told MSA more about herself and her small business, a local yarn shop that serves as a “happy place” for knitters and crocheters to come for supplies, instruction and social stitching. She also noted how her business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, sighting the difficulty of not being able to hold in-person classes and gatherings, and how grant funds were being used to aid operations. Williamson emphasized that HartBeat funds were used to invest in a new POS system with an integrated website and email marketing. The business was able to add a second check out area and purchase an iPad and lighting to reach customers virtually through various platforms, creating online sit and stich meetings and other classes.
“Having an online presence better than the one we created at the beginning of the pandemic (that integrates with our inventory system) has allowed us to expand our customer base to multiple states and across the country. We are also able to connect with our customers virtually to maintain the sense of community that has been important since we first opened in 2018.” – Stacey Williamson, Owner, Center of the Yarniverse
Click here to view the full Q&A, and check out the advice Williamson offers to other struggling small businesses!
Click here to check out other spotlights of first-round recipients for the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program!
Photo Credit: Center of the Yarniverse