Behind the Desk

Name: Gail Allen

Company name: Knit-Treat at the Cottage

Address: 208 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg

Telephone number: 330-1788

Position: Owner

Years with company: 2 months

Family: Husband, Bob; three children: Lance (Kristen), Stephanie (Brian) and Lindsay (Eric); four grandchildren: Troy, Sydney, Avery and Lyla; and parents: Tom and Marie Taylor.

What products or services does your company provide?

Knit-Treat is a specialty store that also provides instructional classes. I sell many of my own handmade items, such as hats, headbands, sweaters and pillows. I also teach classes Wednesday through Saturday that focus on learning or advancing in a craft such at knitting, crocheting or cross-stitch. Additionally, Knit-Treat has partnered with Roaring Spring Water to sell K-Cup coffee, tea and a number of other hot beverages. Along with individual K-Cups for sale, we have Mix & Match K-Cup boxes.

Who are your customers?

My classes are filled with customers who love the art of creating handmade items — both children and adults. Outside of classes, my customers are often those who enjoy buying handmade items for themselves or as gifts for others. I love interacting with the wide variety of customers who visit Knit-Treat.

What is your business day like?

A typical day at Knit-Treat revolves around teaching classes and selling individual items and coffee. Classes usually run for 90 minutes. During this time, I help class participants with special projects or in mastering the foundational skills for knitting, crocheting or cross-stitch. When I’m not teaching class, I’m waiting on customers or brainstorming new and fun activities for my space.

What is the best business advice you have received?

A good friend told me to be patient and to be kind to myself. Along with all of the excitement and fun that comes with opening a new business, there can also be feelings of doubt and fear. I’ve only been open for six weeks. I’m working on building my confidence and continuously trying to provide my customers with the best possible product.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned on the job?

I’ve learned about the importance of human connection. Everyone who walks into Knit-Treat has a story, and I really enjoy hearing about my customers’ journeys. I like to think about Knit-Treat as a community space where people can come together, create, discuss and leave with a smile on their face.

What does the future hold?

My hope for Knit-Treat is that it continues to allow people to realize the great benefits that come along with creating handmade items. Many people find the art of creating relaxing and therapeutic. I also love seeing the pride that customers take in their work. There is no greater satisfaction for me than seeing a customer leave my shop with a completed project.

What have you read lately that has influenced your business life?

“Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach has been particularly meaningful for me as I venture into the business world. Breathnach highlights the many stresses of our world — stresses that we can often miss, if not mindful. She talks about how important it is to live in the moment and to enjoy life. As I continue to shape Knit-Treat, I want it to be a space where people can unplug, live in the moment and enjoy.

If you want your business to be featured in the Mirror’s Behind the Desk series, call Walt Frank at 946-7467

or email wfrank@altoonamirror.com.

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