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Owner of beloved Ottawa yarn shop hanging up the needles after 40 years

OTTAWA —Theresa de Vries, the heart and soul behind Ottawa's cherished Wool-Tyme yarn shop, is bidding farewell after four decades of dedication to the knitting and crafting community. At age 81, de Vries is passing the torch to her niece, marking the end of an era and a remarkable journey that has left a profound impact on Ottawa's crafting landscape.

De Vries' journey began with a passion for knitting that she had nurtured since her childhood in Holland. In the face of challenging times for her immigrant family, she assumed ownership of Wool-Tyme from its original proprietor. Her knack for starting small, avoiding debt, and prioritizing financial responsibilities played a pivotal role in the shop's enduring success.

The shop's resilience was put to the test over the years, with challenges ranging from a legal dispute with a retail giant to the aftermath of a destructive tornado in 2018. However, de Vries stood her ground, even renaming the shop from Wool-Mart Inc. to Wool-Tyme after reaching a settlement.

Wool-Tyme became more than just a store; it evolved into a community hub, fostering connections among knitters, crocheters, and crafters of all skill levels. The shop offered a wide variety of high-quality yarn and crafting supplies and invaluable advice and support, making it a gathering place for those passionate about the art of knitting.

Local crafters expressed their appreciation for the physical shopping experience Wool-Tyme provided. Michele Pedlar, a dedicated customer, found comfort and inspiration within its walls. For Tara Morris, a fiber artist, the shop's diverse selection and the hands-on engagement it offered were essential to her creative process.

As de Vries steps into retirement, her niece Diana Zondag is poised to carry forward the legacy of Wool-Tyme. Zondag's interest in the shop has spanned a decade, and she's well-prepared to continue the tradition of community and creativity that her aunt has cultivated.

The tale of Wool-Tyme and its indomitable owner serves as a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and community support. It's a reminder that small businesses can thrive and become integral parts of people's lives, creating spaces where individuals can connect, learn, and express their creativity. As Theresa de Vries hangs up her knitting needles, her impact on the Ottawa knitting community will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come.