“Men are particularly intrigued,” says Laura Dobratz. “When we attend markets, couples (who do not knit, crochet, etc.) will stop and the husband will want to go
up into the truck and look around. We can pack a fair amount of yarn in the truck so it makes for a very impressive ‘booth’ at fiber festivals and events that we attend.”
Roughly 2,000 skeins of yarn can fit into the ‘Follow the Fiber’ yarn truck — the only yarn truck in the state of Florida.
“When (customers) come to the truck they know from the brands we carry in it that the drive to the store will be worth it because it can only get better,” Laura Dobratz says. “Having a big store also means that we can rotate the inventory so that every time we take the truck out they can see new things.” The truck makes regular stops at different fiber events, conferences, markets, and if a local knitting/crochet group is big enough, they can book the truck to come directly to their meeting place. Some of the places people will find ‘Follow the Fiber’ is the Mount Dora Village Sunday Market, The Black Sheep in Orlando, and large annual events in the state like the Florida Fiber In and Distaff Day. ‘Follow the Fiber’ became a regular on the third Saturday of each month at The Black Sheep in the College Park area of Orlando when the store started focusing more on needlepoint, but still wanted to offer yarn to its customers. “It works better to partner with them,” says Judy Dziuban, an employee of the Black Sheep in Orlando. “It certainly helps our business. It’s a very beneficial, reciprocal relationship.” If a customer makes a request for a specific type of yarn, they can call Four Purls and they will bring it the next time they roll into town. The truck has been to 55 plus communities for their residents and knitting groups. “We cater to certain groups and what they might want,” JD Dobratz says. “Mobile businesses are expanding. It’s expensive to run a store. “We could probably have it out a few times a week but we lack the staff,” he says, adding that they may hire more people in the future. The couple also enjoys partnering with coffee shops, cafes, breweries and other businesses. “It’s mutually beneficial,” he says. Customers can grab a coffee or snack and snag some yarn for a project. Even though the truck is a regular sight now for longtime customers in Polk County, it’s still somewhat of a novelty. Laura Dobratz says that truck is just plain fun and she says the look on someone’s face seeing the truck for the first time never gets old. “I feel proud and excited that I’ve brought a bit of joy to their day,” she says. “What is really exciting, though, is when I see the same person walk into the shop for Continued on page 17
Published on May 10, 2017
"Follow the Fiber" Yarn Truck from Four Purls Yarn Shop; Be a Goal Digger; Sea Cadets; 863 Local FiArt Fest Place Winners; Non-Profit Spotli...