For 18 years, the owner of Pins and Needles on Chambers Street in downtown Princeton has welcomed knitters, would-be knitters and needlepointers to the cozy store on Chambers Street in downtown Princeton where people drop by for supplies, guidance, lessons and more. But those days will soon be over. Citing a dramatic drop in traffic and business since the new parking meter system was implemented in Princeton in December, owner Kathleen Gittleman announced today that she is closing the store for good in late May.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell each of you that after 18 amazing years Pins and Needles will be closing. It is not a decision I’ve come to lightly — I’ve wrestled with it for months. The reasons are simple and yet complicated. Traffic and business has been down dramatically and suddenly since the beginning of December,” Gittleman wrote in an email to customers. “The specific reasons for that are many too, parking for sure, changing retail shopping patterns…a perfect storm if you will.”
Back in January, Gittleman was one of several Princeton merchants who told the Princeton Council at public meetings that the new meter system was too complicated and too expensive. “My customers have been blown away by the rate increase,” she told the mayor and council on Jan. 14, noting that her customers are used to paying 50 to 75 cents an hour in other towns. She said there is tremendous pressure on brick and mortar retail stores with the competition from online stores like Amazon. Shoppers can buy things from their sofas, she said, adding that the new parking meter system was “making it complicated and expensive for people to get off that sofa” and come shop in Princeton.
In her letter announcing the closing of Pins and Needles, Gittleman thanked customers and staff members for their support over all the years. Some staff members have worked at Pins and Needles since the store opened — “almost a third of our lives,” Gittleman wrote, calling all the people who have worked at Pins and Needles “an important part of the fabric.”
“This has been a wonderful adventure for all of us here and each of us will miss the store and our customers, the regulars and the drop ins, the local and the far flung,” Gittleman wrote. “For all of us the best part of this place was always each of you and the joy we shared in helping you nurture a creative outlet in your life, develop lifelong skills, and sometimes find shelter from the storms of life in the simple act of manipulating two sticks and string or pulling a needle through a canvas. You will all be missed.”
The last day Pins in Needles will be open is May 21. Starting today, Pins and needles is selling everything at 20 percent off. The week of April 30 to May everything will be 30 percent off. The third week of the sale, everything will be 40 percent off, and the last week everything will be 50 percent off. The store will be open until 6 p.m. daily.
“I know there will be a million questions and loose ends to resolve — stop by or call and we’ll get it all figured out,” Gittleman wrote. “To say that these words don’t begin to express my gratitude doesn’t get half way there but to each of you who were part of our universe here and shared a bit of yourself with all of us…thank you.”