Passing the skein: Couple seeks new owners for Bettendorf knitting shop

In this file photo, Joy Povich, owner of Knit and Knot in Bettendorf, poses in its former location. Povich and her husband are hoping to sell the shop to devote more time to their family.

Joy Povich has found peace.

It did not come easily. There was some hand wringing, grief and some back-and-forth decision making that could have meant another move for her yarn boutique, Knit & Knot.

But a decision has been made, and Povich says her emotional roller coaster is now verging on joy: The Knit & Knot owner says the family hopes to sell the shop.

She is not happy to leave behind the store she and her husband, Jotham, launched five years ago, but she is ready to make her chief title mom to her two boys, Miles and Devon. Now ages 5 and 1, the two have spent the majority of their lives at the shop, among the colorful skeins of wool and cotton, knitting needles and the other paraphernalia.

Povich says she has floated word to her customers about her hopes for the store, which has been at 1815 Grant St., Bettendorf, since Dec. 2015. Three words headlining the shop's February newsletter made the facts clear for all to read: “Shop. For. Sale.”  

In the newsletter, Povich writes that in the past, the family had said they were not closing, just hopeful that someone would buy it. This time is different, she says — the shop must be sold or its doors will close on July 31.  

“Have you ever wanted to own a yarn shop? Do you know someone who has that dream?" Povich writes in the newsletter. "Please come talk to me.”

One recent Sunday, with the sun streaming through the shop's windows, Povich sat at the long table where her community of knitters and crocheters regularly gather to work and socialize. She runs the shop with the help of volunteers, and says there are about 50 shop loyalists, a mix of those who regularly shop and those who volunteer to keep it running.

The shop's 1,000-square-foot main floor boasts a large inventory, much of it displayed on the beautiful wood shelves Povich's husband built. 

In 2012, at seven months pregnant, Povich opened the shop in a strip of stores on Bettendorf's Devils Glen Road. She says she experienced déjà vu last year when she was pregnant again, and moving the shop to Grant Street.

Povich says a community has formed around her shop, and it has been there for her and her family.

When July comes to a close, though, Povich says she intends to “live at the park” for a couple of years with her boys to make up for the time they have spent at the shop. 

“If I don't take care of my boys, then I've lost everything,” Povich says.  

Povich says the downtown Bettendorf location, with its accessibility to the bridge and closer access to Illinois traffic, did not pan out as well for business as the family had hoped. And the visions of knitting parties on the shop's front porch, with its tall white columns now adorned with colorful knit covers, also did not come to fruition because of the noisy street traffic.

Povich describes a social contract she and her husband believe in — that if the couple puts their family out there as the owners of the shop, the community will support them. Part of the community, she says, has done just that. Povich says she has made life-long connections with the people she has met through the shop, and those connections will remain.

But now is the time for a new chapter.

“We get excited of the potential for everything, for the family, that is. What it could hold for us,” Povich says. “We're hoping someone will take this community and family we established and adopt it.”

Povich says heritage crafts such as knitting and crocheting, which take time and energy, are not very lucrative, but the shop could be a great opportunity for the right person with the right passion. She is advertising the shop's availability by word of mouth and through Facebook ads. She says she has put in time, effort and part of her soul into the business, and she is hopeful someone will step forward to carry it on.

“I'm sad, but it's not my overwhelming reaction,” she says. “If nobody steps forward, it's just more sad for our community. I really thought this was more important.”

Nicole Lauer is an occasional Radish contributor. For more information about Knit & Knot, visit knitandknotyarn.com or call 563-332-7378.

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