Successful business, but no buyers: Bathurst yarn shop to close

Beth Sullivan owns a successful small business in the heart of the largest city in northern New Brunswick, but she wants to retire, and nobody wants to buy it. The Spinning Wheel Yarn Shop, a specialty yarn and thread store, opened 13 years ago and grew exponentially over time.

After 13 years of increasing success, Beth Sullivan decided to retire, but couldn't find a buyer for her store

It's the end of a successful small business in the heart of the largest city in northern New Brunswick. The owner wants to retire, and nobody wants to buy it. 0:38

Beth Sullivan owns a successful small business in the heart of the largest city in Northern New Brunswick, but she wants to retire, and nobody wants to buy it.

The Spinning Wheel Yarn Shop, a specialty yarn and thread store, opened 13 years ago and grew exponentially.

"I met a lot of people, sold a lot of yarn," Sullivan said. "We're not closing because of lack of business. It's just time to retire.

"We got real serious Jan. 1. We started cutting back on inventory. We've been unable to get a buyer, so we'll close the long weekend in May."

Blow to downtown

'It hurts my heart,' Rebecca Whiting says of the Spinning Wheel's plan to close. She is an avid crocheter and lives down the street from the yarn shop. (Bridget Yard/CBC)
Sullivan believes "the right person" just never came along. Between the small investment needed to buy the shop, and the six-day-a-week schedule, "it's a commitment," she said.

"But you'd have a lot of customers if you bought it."

One of those customers, Rebecca Whiting, would gladly purchase the store if she had the income.

"It hurts my heart to be honest," she said of the closure.

"If I had the money, it would be like a dream to me."

Another specialty business, Music City, closed in 2015 for similar reasons. A local business development organization  even created programs to address the issue of succession in northern New Brunswick

"I think we've lost the youth," Sullivan said. "I can't pass it onto my children because they don't live here."

Knitting groups will survive

Rebecca Whiting and Beth Sullivan peruse the discounted items at the Spinning Wheel Yarn Shop. The store will close May 20. (Bridget Yard/CBC)
The Spinning Wheel has acted as a meeting place for Bathurst's knitters over the years. Four groups meet each week to work on projects and share tips.

"Our oldest knitting group started on a Wednesday night," Sullivan said. "The youngest was 30 and the oldest was 70. We all got along and had a good time."

The groups have booked a room at Bathurst's civic centre to continue the tradition.

"We're not going to stop knitting," she said.

About the Author

Bridget Yard

Reporter

Bridget Yard is a video journalist based in Saskatoon. She has also worked for CBC in Fredericton and Bathurst, N.B.