The building at the corner of Gallatin Street and Baltimore Avenue in Hyattsville is less than inspiring.
The bland beige concrete exterior has no signs or flashing lights, and passersby may barely notice it compared to the eye-catching across the street.
Little do they know, just up the steps in Suite 101 there is a haven of hues.
The knitting supply store, , has been splashing color into the lives of Hyattsville residents for nearly five years.
The shop offers knitting classes and sells knitting and crocheting supplies such as needles, books and—of course—yarn. Rows of shelves display a rainbow of soft, silky, wooly and even bristly yarn ranging from $5 to $40 a skein. The products include yarn made from sugar cane, hemp, bamboo, alpaca, wool, tweed and recycled fibers.
For co-owners Larry Paulson and Cheryl Hoffman, high-end yarn is a must.
“What we look for is quality,” Paulson said. “I try to buy yarn we like to knit with and our customers like to knit with.”
The uncommon selection of yarns and comfortable atmosphere attract male and female knitters of all ages.
“If I want high-quality, unique yarn, this is where I go,” said Helen Rowe of Hyattsville, as she knitted a pair of house slippers with her daughter inside the shop. “Sometimes I come here to just get away and I’m hard pressed to find a seat. The atmosphere is so inviting.”
When the store opened it was “filling a niche” in the community, according to Paulson. Today there are about 10 such shops in the area. But for residents, A Tangled Skein provides a tight-knit sense of community they can’t find anywhere else.
“[A Tangled Skein] is such a fun place to work,” said salesclerk and knitting instructor Jennifer Woods. “I really enjoy interacting with the knitters.”
For Paulson, the key to his thriving business is camaraderie among customers and staff. The business plan has aimed to foster that relationship from the start.
“We wanted to create a community, not just a place to buy something and leave but to actually hang out,” he said. “And I think we have really accomplished that.”