Stitched together by their mutual love of yarn, it’s a group of local makers and entrepreneurs that make the shelves of the South Philadelphia-born yarn shop Loop such a unique place to shop, according to the store’s co-owner Laura Singewald.
Loop works with three to five small businesses in Philly—local vendors that either dye yarn or make knitting notions sold in the store.
For instance, Loop stocks Bog Berry wool dryer balls in color ranges.
Loop is extra special to owner Brooke Petry. A knitter, Loop has been her LYS (that’s Local Yarn Store) for many years before ever selling products there.
“They placed their first order during the first fall of the pandemic—a time that was so uncertain for all of us who own small businesses,” she says. “During that time, small businesses were having to really make tough choices about how to spend money on inventory—and the fact that they chose to order from us, another local small business, really meant a lot to me.”
“Nearly every company that we work with—even if they’re not a Philadelphia company—is a small business here in the U.S. That’s a pretty cool feature of working in this industry—you’re talking to the owner of each business that you work with,” says Singewald. “Even with larger companies, you are often working with the owner, which is helpful since we are all facing the same challenges and it makes for a good support system.”
The Graduate Hospital-area yarn shop Loop will celebrate 17 years in business in April 2022. During this time, Loop has developed a reputation for inspiring local makers by stocking beautiful yarns, needles, and patterns. The store now has 18 employees between their two locations in South Philadelphia and Newtown Square (Loop West).
Singewald adds that the store aims to show people what the local products the store sells can produce.“We have beautiful samples in the store to inspire people to pick up their needles and either learn to knit, make something new or pick it up again after many years. We always have something new in the shop to show people, to get them knitting,” says Singewald.
Loop has a full schedule of classes and anyone who wants to learn can go through their Learn to Knit series. Singewald says they have had many success stories over the years of people who not only learned to knit but made excellent friendships with other knitters in their classes.
Loop’s knitting circle is an opportunity to foster community and creativity. Held twice weekly, it’s a time for knitters to come together and work on their projects.
Because of COVID restrictions, Loop is capping the circle at eight people per session. In the past, they’ve had up to 20 people.
Their goals for 2022 are to stay part of their community here in Philadelphia.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past 17 years and certainly much in the past two years. We realized how important community is to our customers and that having a place to go during all of this has certainly been very important for people who want to continue to be here to do that,” says Singewald.
Singewald moved here in 1999. Her business partner Craig Rosenfeld grew up in the Western suburbs but has lived in Graduate Hospital for many years now. Rosenfeld opened the business.
“He got a set of knitting needles and yarns for his birthday, learned to knit and just took off (with it). He was looking for a career change, wanted to do something new and was able to open the business just a few blocks from his house,” says Singewald.
She added Loop already had a strong online presence pre-COVID-19, so they were ready for the online orders and curbside pickup. Singewald says the biggest challenges were adjusting to continuously shifting restrictions and keeping the communication going with their customers and keeping their own spirits up.
“Fortunately, the message really got through with Philadelphians that you needed to support small businesses during this time. Our customers were great. Everybody really did try and succeed at supporting the small businesses that they wanted to still be here after this was all over,” she says.
Liverpool Yarns is new to the shelves at Loop as of December 2021, but owner Erika Flory has done business with LOOP for several years prior to this. Flory has been a vendor at their Fall Festivals, and they’ve been host to trunk shows of her yarns and samples.
“Having my yarn in my local yarn store was important to me, as it further connects me to the fiber community here. Having an already established relationship with Craig and Laura made it easier for me to reach out to them with a business proposal, and they already know me and my yarn,” says Flory.
Singewald adds that in the 17 years Loop has had its shop, she has met the most wonderful people.
“We couldn’t do what we love without them,” she says, “and we are so grateful to have such a supportive community.”