Not too long ago, the fate of Casey's Crafts was uncertain, and many local residents who rely upon the store as a source for art, craft and school project materials were wondering if it would remain open after being on the market for almost a year.
Among those wondering was Laurie Davenport, a nurse at the Langley Clinic and a regular customer at the store. "I couldn't imagine life without Casey's Crafts since I was always running in there for beads or paper or glue to complete a project," she said. "And the staff always seemed ready to help and encourage me." When her mother left her an inheritance, Laurie decided to use it to save the store from closing. To her, it seemed an incredible opportunity and one which her creative mother would have approved.
She didn't take the plunge until talking with the staff about staying on; "Retail is new to me and there's no way I could do this without them." Patty Currier, Carlene Leuty, Vivian Morley and Carla Walsh are the familiar faces who still welcome customers into the store and with many years of experience, keep the place running smoothly.
Purchasing the store in November 2005 meant jumping in at the busiest time of the year. "I didn't think anyone would come to the day after Thanksgiving Sale because it was raining, so when I pulled up to see a huge crowd, I was shocked!" Laurie reported. At that point she didn't even know how to run the cash register so it was a team effort to make it through the busy day. The team effort continued as the store was painted and rearranged. And to be part of the team for Laurie meant quitting her job at the clinic to spend more time learning about the store from the other side of the counter.
Casey's Crafts has been around for fifteen years, having been established by Kent Myers and Associates as a Ben Franklin store. Goosefoot now owns the real estate and continues to work on upgrading the property. "They have been very supportive," said Laurie. She also reports getting lots of help from loyal customers many of whom donate time to the store. Everyday someone thanks her for keeping the store open. And people are reacting positively to the changes being made.
The plan is to keep an inventory of basic and affordable craft supplies, but also add new and fun products. A serendipitous meeting with Carolyn Geise of Maxwelton Aerie Alpaca Ranch resulted in the addition of alpaca yarns to the existing yarn inventory. The art supply section has expanded to include Maimeri, fine Italian paints in watercolor and oil, also Mi-Tienes pastel and Arches watercolor papers by the sheet. More K& Co products round out the memory making department. The bead section is in the process of expanding. And there are now wonderful how-to books in every area.
Another well received change is the revival of classes. Laurie's husband, Andy O'Keefe was drafted to knock out a wall in the back and open up an area to be used for workshops. With the wealth of local talent it seems there will be no shortage of opportunities to share and learn new skills.
Customers are encouraged too stop by for a look at the changes in the store and to pick up a class schedule or you can just check here for an up-to-date calendar.