Owner Dona Flam, left, with salesperson Stacy Pershall.
The storefront mannequins were only half-dressed and the lower level was unfinished. But the shelves were stocked with yarn and knittings of all colors and kinds — as promised — during the Friday grand opening of Yarntopia, located at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 108th Street.
Not to be confused with Yarntopia of Katy, Texas, Upper West Side designer Dona Flam’s store has been in the works for nearly three years, now occupying the former Botanica La Luz & Gift Shop site.
“It took me forever to find space because rents are so expensive,” said Flam, who claimed to have registered the stitcher’s utopian trade name long before her Texan counterpart ever appeared online.
Flam, a former psychiatric social worker whose knitted hats, bags, and scarves have sold in other local boutiques, envisions her shop helping to fill an artistic gap in the Upper West Side enclave commonly called Manhattan Valley. “There’s no real creative outlets up here,” she told The Observer.
The currently 400-square-foot shop will double in size once Flam can finally open the basement area, pending city and co-op building approval. Within a few weeks, she hopes to start hosting knitting classes.
The lunchtime opening on “Black Friday” proved frantic for the first-time shopkeeper, who hastily threw black t-shirts over the mannequins in her front window — statues otherwise sporting only hats, scarves, and handbags — just before welcoming her first customer. “They were naked until 11 this morning,” she said.
– Chris Shott