When Patrick Kincaid received a verbal offer for a teaching job in , he and Doug Cardoza moved from King City, CA, to .
Then, Kincaid’s job offer fell through due to budget cuts and neither former teacher was able to get even a job interview in the area. When Cardoza cashed out his retirement savings for living expenses, he realized this was the time to try out his dream of opening a yarn shop.
“I figured since I’m using my retirement for living expenses, I might as well follow my dream,” Cardoza said.
In April, the pair opened in downtown . Kincaid put his life savings into the store with one caveat – that a section be set up in the back where spouses of knitters can browse a selection of used books, and sit down and read.
“It was kind of a big chance to take to take but sometimes you have to take a risk to (realize) your dreams,” Kincaid said.
The business partners are two of many casualties of cuts affecting school systems throughout the state. The in April .
Locally, school systems are facing similar budget woes, though Superintendent John Harper said that . The approved a .
And, while Kincaid still hopes to find a full-time teaching job, leaving Cardoza—who has been a knitter and crocheter for the last 30 years—to run the store full time, the business partners said that the first month at their store on South Wall Street has gone well.
“We get people who drop by all the time,” Kincaid said. “It’s their time to escape, listen to some soft music and knit.”
And on Sundays, local yarn enthusiasts meet at the shop to knit.
“I’m very excited there’s a place here to knit,” said Cartersville resident Nancy Mezick, who used to travel to Atlanta to have a place to go knit. “I’ve already asked if I can come hang out and knit if I get bored.”
This kind of store is something that Cartersville needed, Mezick said.
“It’s a fun place to come and meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise,” she said. “A lot of people want to get together to talk and have something to do.”
And in the back is a section called The Knit-Wit Sit, where customers can read and purchase books. That helps gives spouses something to do, Kincaid said.
“That way they’re not looking at their watches trying to hurry,” he said. “I know nothing about knitting. Wherever we go, Doug has to find a yarn store. He could spend 3 to 4 hours there, and meanwhile, I sit there doing nothing."
Opening the store wasn’t something Cardoza and Kincaid could do in California where the cost of rent is sky high. Even on the square on Marietta, rents ranged from $2,000 to $5,000 a month. So, when the pair walked by the store next to Write Downtown and saw it was for rent, they knew it was something they wanted to look into. Luckily for them, the building’s owner was sitting right outside.
“When we were told the rent we thought, ‘We have to give this one a try,’” Kincaid said.
Now, the men want to move to Cartersville.
“We fell in love with the town,” Kincaid said. “It’s got this small-town feeling.”