Follow the Fiber YARN Truck By Elizabeth Morrissey | Photos by Andrea Cruz
e all know about the ever popular food trucks, but what about a yarn truck? A local truck called “Follow the Fiber” is one of less than a dozen trucks in the country — and the only one in Florida — that is filled with yarn and travels around to destinations that might not have a good yarn shop nearby. A mobile extension of Four Purls Yarn Shop in downtown Winter Haven, owners JD and Laura Dobratz say the truck brings the best of yarn and fiber to knitters and crocheters in and around Central Florida. “We wanted to bring our yarn shop to other people,” says JD Dobratz, whose name tag says Truck Master. “There are food trucks, so we thought why can’t we do it with yarn.” So they gutted a truck three years ago and added shelves, flooring, and wrapped the truck with their logo. It now holds roughly 2,000 skeins of yarn. All different colors and types of yarn can be found aboard the 20-foot truck. Laura Dobratz is the driving force behind the truck’s very existence. Deciding to add a truck to her shop, which already boasts Central Florida’s largest selection of yarn and fiber, was a no-brainer. “We have a lot of customers that travel an hour or more to shop and I hear over and over again, ‘I wish you were closer, we don’t have anywhere to buy good yarn around us,’” Laura Dobratz says. “One day it hit me, I could have a store in every town around us, it just had to be movable and only open once in while.” Follow the Fiber makes its way to events at least once a week in the winter months, which can often mean the Dobratzes are working seven days a week. They take a break over summer because of the heat and go back out in the community in the fall. JD Dobratz says the closest yarn shop to Four Purls is about an hour away so the truck also helps with advertising their brick and mortar store. “A truck is the perfect complement to the store full of yarn,” Laura Dobratz continues. “It is our lifeline. It gives people an idea of what we carry in the store. The truck is pretty essential to the success of the shop, we rely on the travelers that it brings back to the shop.” Both the shop and the
May / June 2017
truck carry brands that cannot be found at big box stores, such as yarns that have been hand-dyed or milled with high quality fibers.
Some who happen upon the truck by accident would never never have thought to seek out a proper yarn shop or even know that better yarn does exist.
Published on May 10, 2017
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