Wauconda yarn store closing; owners blame 911 outsourcing

  • The Unraveled Yarn Shop in downtown Wauconda is closing, although an online business will continue.

    The Unraveled Yarn Shop in downtown Wauconda is closing, although an online business will continue. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Jessica LoBue, co-owner of Unraveled Yarn Shop in Wauconda, knits at the front counter Friday.

    Jessica LoBue, co-owner of Unraveled Yarn Shop in Wauconda, knits at the front counter Friday. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/4/2016 3:18 PM

A yarn store in downtown Wauconda is closing its brick-and-mortar operation after less than two years in business, and the owners are blaming the village board's decision to shut down the town's 911 center.

The Unraveled Yarn Shop opened in August 2014 at 110 N. Main St., across from village hall. The 400-square-foot shop is owned by Jessica LoBue and her mother, Joanne Schmoeller, who also works as a police dispatcher in Wauconda.

 

The pending closure of Wauconda's 911 center -- a move officials say was made to reduce village spending -- will cost Schmoeller and about 10 other dispatchers their jobs. That income was needed to help keep Unraveled afloat, the women said.

LoBue described Unraveled's finances as being "just at the keel of breaking even." Sometimes some extra personal investment was needed, Schmoeller added.

"My job at the police department has afforded somewhat of a financial backing that we will no longer have access to if needed," said Schmoeller, of Island Lake.

Fortunately for customers, Unraveled's online store, unraveledyarnshoponline.com, will continue operating.

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"The good news is, we're not going out of business," said LoBue, also of Island Lake. "But it's forced us to suspend our (physical) business."

LoBue and Schmoeller announced plans to shutter the store last week and have begun liquidating their inventory of yarn, needles and related products.

LoBue expects the doors will close for good in April.

In addition to selling knitting and crocheting materials, Unraveled offers classes at the Wauconda Area Library and hosts a free, monthly stitching group called In The Loop at the nearby Wauconda Area Chamber of Commerce building. Those programs will continue, LoBue said.

"We're hoping to keep a presence here in Wauconda," she said.

The women hope to reopen a storefront by this winter in a different, larger location in Wauconda, once the business' financial picture is clearer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Wauconda officials debated whether to shut down the village's 911 center for more than two years before finally deciding last month to outsource the service to Lake Zurich.

Mayor Frank Bart, the leading proponent of closing the 911 center, said he was sorry to hear about Unraveled's pending closure.

"The store has been an important contributor to our local economy and a part of our downtown identity," Bart said.

Even so, Bart stood by the decision to cut costs through outsourcing.

"We realize that these changes will have negative effects on some, but failing to make these changes would have a negative effect on many more," he said.

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