No longer a "lofty" dream: Knots & Weaves reopens in its new home
No longer a “lofty” dream: Knots & Weaves re-‐opens in its new home Two Decembers ago, Malvern residents and business owners Kerry and Jim Greim had their lives turned upside down when a massive fire destroyed their decorative rug business, Knots & Weaves. Those superstitious might deem “12” an unlucky number for this hardworking couple, but not so. 2012 has been very good to the Greims, delivering them an opportunity to reopen at the location formerly occupied by Nesting Feathers. Beloved by many for its eclectic home furnishings and accessories, Nesting Feathers was both a destination and a vibrant King Street, Malvern business—two goals the Greims hope to achieve. With the addition of The Loft, a vendor co-‐op concept that harkens back to its predecessor’s history, the Greims are poised not only to rebuild their business, but also to play a leading role in revitalizing the community. Though admittedly, the timing isn’t great with the devastation caused by hurricane Sandy all too fresh, if anyone is perfectly suited to help others regain their hope and vision after an unforeseen disaster, it is hands-‐down, Kerry and Jim. In advance of this weekend’s re-‐opening event (Nov. 3-‐4), we thought this Q+A would be well worth your reading time. For more details about the event, visit K&W on Facebook. How did the concept for The Loft come about? When we acquired the new building it was double the size of our original rug store. We didnt want rugs on the 2nd floor because logistically that
can be difficult. We also knew that we wanted to compliment the rugs with products that our customer base would enjoy, so what better than home decor and fashion accessories. Weve actually added gift items, candles and holiday decor to the mix. What type of criteria did you have in mind when choosing “housemates” to take up residence in The Loft? The potential business ideally would already have been established, have a following, interesting product, creative individuals, and be involved in social media. How do you envision the new venue enhancing both business and consumer “life” along King Street? There is truly something for everyone at every price point. The overall feel of the store appeals to all of your senses. Candles are burning, music is playing and the products are visually stimulating… Soon food will be cooking. Since first and foremost, you are a purveyor of rugs, what are some of the details you want customers to know about your inventory? We hand select every item in the store. The rugs are hand-‐woven, the furniture is hand-‐painted, & some of the jewelry is handmade, so many of these items will not be found anywhere else. There’s been talk of adding a café. Can you expound on that? The cafe is on the back burner (pun intended) for a short time. We wanted to have it open for fall 2012, but when the guidelines for the equipment showed that we couldnt use our existing appliances and we had to buy all new ones, we had to put a hold on the project. We purchased and did a major renovation to the building, so the expense of setting up the cafe is something we cannot tackle until after the New Year. What are the most unique features of the new store in terms of collaboration, inventory and quality? As mentioned above, with the handmade quality of so many of the products, youre guaranteed to find great pieces that you wont see anywhere else. Signed works by local artists are offered at great prices. We
pride ourselves in that we are truly a mom-‐and-‐pop shop and price our items so well that we know and feel confident that we are treating our clients fairly with our main goal always being that they have a great experience. How has the economy impacted how people decorate their homes? Are they spending more to make things more luxurious and going out less, or the opposite? Do you feel the price points of your Loft vendors will help customers make desired changes and add a greater sense of intrigue and comfort to their homes? The economy has definitely impacted our business, which is why we needed to do more than just rugs. We didnt want people to feel they couldnt come in if they werent in the market for a rug. We want everyone to feel welcome and at home at K&W. We have found that our prices and the prices of our tenants our so amazingly fair and reasonable that people are finding it hard to pass up on some of the deals. Everyone wants a deal these days and we recognize that, so we are very aggressive about keeping our pricing in line. Are the vendors long-‐term, or will you be rotating? Both: When it works well for each vendor, and also for us, then everyone is happy, and they stay on or even expand. Sometimes situations change; we encourage businesses to talk with us about joining The Loft in the future. Why did you choose these particular vendors? Some were recommended through mutual friends or business associates who knew what we were doing and thought they would be a good fit. We met one vendor at an auction. We found two jewelry designers at the West Chester Restaurant Festival. One vendor walked in the door one day… As long as their product is something that consumers will find interesting and it goes along with our concept, we’re willing to give it a go. What has been the biggest challenge of relocating after the fire? The biggest challenge to overcome was letting people know that we were still in business. Being in a temporary space for the year after the fire put us in a compromising position, as we were hesitant to put money into advertising. We couldnt justify a big advertising campaign for a space and
address that we knew we were moving out of. We have to make up for lost time in spreading the word that we are back and bigger and better than before. What are your hopes for King Street in terms of becoming a destination “Main Street” for those outside the Main Line? We are very excited about the expansion project across the street and hope to see lots of people walking around town. With the addition of restaurants and Kimberton Whole Foods, many more people are bound to venture into Malvern. How successful are you at juggling parenthood with a full-‐time business—and as a couple? Is there any downtime? The juggle is tremendously difficult and stressful. Luckily our children are getting bigger, although Id like to keep them little forever. They are much more independent and willing to pitch in and help. We hit the ground running every morning and often have evening business commitments combined with sports and both our volunteer work with the school, so there is never any down time. Our hope is that once we get things in place and have our staff up and running, we can take time for ourselves. We cancelled our vacations this summer in order to get the construction complete and the store open before the end of the summer. We desperately need family time. This arrangement is not one we would recommend to enhance a marriage. We work extremely hard everyday at keeping the peace and maintaining our sanity as a couple and business partners. What are the top two reasons to not miss your opening event? Dont miss this event because there is so much to see at discounted prices. Most people who see our new home are so pleasantly surprised to find what we have done to the place and to also find the addition of The Loft! Fun, food, balloons and tattoos for kids (or adults), along with raffles and giveaways.