After Purls of Joy owner Rosanne Park announced her plan to retire at the end of this month, a group of local knitters set out to form a cooperative (co-op) in order to purchase and maintain the popular knitting store on Heal

The founder and owner of the popular knitting shop Purls of Joy is retiring at the end of this month and, in an effort to keep the shop going and the friendly store spirit alive, a group of about 50 local knitters are working to form a member-driver co-op to maintain the business.
The group recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to close a funding gap for acquiring the business and for providing sufficient capital to ensure that the business can operate as of March 1, 2022.
Cooperative (Co-op) members have given monetary commitments of $85,000 and since that’s not quite enough to complete the acquisition, the group aims to raise $20,000 via GoFundMe.
“We don’t have enough of a cushion to pay rent or utilities or increase our inventory or any of the other day-to-day things,” said Janice Orrego, an avid knitter and the organizer of the GoFundMe drive.
As of Feb. 23, $5,735 had been raised and the campaign so far has garnered support from several locals, including an individual who doesn’t even knit but wanted to support small business.
In their donation comment on the GoFundMe page, Randolph Varney wrote, “We’re losing so many of the small businesses that always made Healdsburg what it is for us locals. Although I don’t knit and have never shopped there, I think it’s worth trying to save Purls of Joy.”
Orrego said it’s exciting to see support coming in for their endeavor.
“What we want to do is maintain the spirit of the store that Rosanne Park developed and nurtured and formed. With that, we also want to try and go out to different age groups within the community. I used to be a high school teacher and I taught knitting to my students as well, so I’d like to go into the schools and see if there’s a way that we can get some young people to join the knitting community so that it doesn’t die out,” Orrego said.
Orrego said she’d like to do the same reach out work with Healdsburg’s senior population.
“Oftentimes senior centers are looking for any type of activity that one can do with their residents that isn’t very expensive or difficult and just to have a sense of community with that age group as well,” she said.
Park opened Purls of Joy in 2010, and since then, created a warm and inviting space for new knitters, experienced knitters and for anyone in between. She also made time to support education and outreach programs such as Project Linus, which provides blankets to at-risk children throughout Sonoma County, and Alice’s Embrace, which provides blankets and shawls to people with Alzheimer’s.
In 2019, Purls of Joy partnered with Social Advocates for Youth and launched a knitting campaign to make hats, scarves and gloves for homeless youth.
Park told SoCoNews in 2019 that she decided to launch the knitting campaign when she got the idea from friends, family and fellow knitting enthusiasts.
“We do a lot of charity knitting and we are always looking for projects, so we are hoping to get things to the kids and young people who are in the program, the ones on the streets,” Park told SoCoNews.
Over the years, the shop has also created a “beanie brigade,” a team of knitters that has created over 3,500 helmet liners for U.S. troops.
According to Orrego, the co-op would like to continue support of these programs and also maintain the Thursday “Sit and Stitch” events where all knitters are welcome to knit together. Throughout the COVID pandemic, the stitch events have been held outdoors to better protect participants.
The store would be maintained at its current location on Healdsburg Avenue and would be staffed by co-op volunteers and would continue to offer a wide range of woolen fibers and finished products.
“One of other driving forces for trying to keep the store in Healdsburg, is Healdsburg is a lovely town and it has a lot of things going on, but this is a different type of store that you would not normally see in Healdsburg and we want to have a diversity of different businesses that the town has,” Orrego said.
To learn more about Purls of Joy, click here. 

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