Unlike so many small businesses, Downtown Yarns, Leti Ruiz’s yarn store in New York’s East Village, managed to make it through the pandemic intact. A surge in interest in crafting — including knitting and crocheting, the store’s specialties — brought both returning and new customers in search of comfort and distraction. When people were stuck at home, patrons placed orders over the phone or through Instagram and a friend of the store made deliveries to all five boroughs. In the end, the store actually fared better financially in 2020, Ms. Ruiz said, than it had in 2019.
Now, however, Ms. Ruiz is facing a new landscape: the unknown world of post-pandemic crafting. “It’s sort of slowed down because people are going back to work or they’re traveling,” she said. “So I feel like now it’s more like regular times.”
Gotham Quilts in Midtown Manhattan, described a frenzy at the beginning of the pandemic in which her store’s normal sales of sewing machines tripled. The swell wasn’t just about keeping idle hands occupied, she said. It’s a reflection of how people were rethinking their lives during isolation.