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Fargo's Nordic Needle store to close this fall

Nordic Needle Inc. at 1314 Gateway Drive South will close soon after 42 years in business. David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
Shoppers check out at Nordic Needle Inc. which will close soon after 42 years in business. David Samson / The Forum2 / 4
A variety of materials on display at Nordic Needle Inc. in south Fargo.David Samson / The Forum3 / 4
A shopper looks through the thread selection at Nordic Needle Inc. in south Fargo.David Samson / The Forum4 / 4

FARGO—A longtime home for needle arts enthusiasts will close its store this fall.

Owners Ryan Evelyth and Christian Braden recently announced a store closing liquidation sale that began Thursday, Sept. 28, at Nordic Needle Inc., 1314 Gateway Drive S.

Braden said they sent about 17,000 letters to past or current customers that began arriving in mailboxes Saturday, Sept. 23, informing them of the sale and upcoming closure of the store.

Nordic Needle got its start in 1975 with original owners Rosalyn Watnemo and Susan Meier. It opened as Crafts, Cloth and Collectables in downtown Fargo when the former deLendrecie's Department Store, 624 Main Ave., turned into the Block 6 shopping center with the opening of 33 specialty shops.

The business that especially focused on the Norwegian embroidery technique Hardanger early on rebranded to Nordic Needle in 1979, expanded in 1980 and moved to its current location in 1983.

Evelyth became a co-owner of the business in 2014, while Braden came on in May 2016. He said he got to know Evelyth while helping the store with its internet needs through his technology business, FM-IT Direct, and jumped at the chance to become a business partner—even if he had never done needlework or embroidery.

He said the business now does 85 to 90 percent of sales through its website, shipping kits, supplies and patterns to customers in more than 150 countries. It processes orders in the basement below the store in the building that's still owned by the original owners.

Nordic Needle also keeps busy with some wholesale customers, he said. Still, Braden said the needle arts "heyday" that the store benefited from about a decade ago has come and gone.

While online sales are still good, he said the decision to close the store comes down to a financial necessity driven by fewer in-person purchases.

"You look at the numbers each week, and they just kept being not very great," he said. "It's one of those things where you almost know it's inevitable unless something changes."

Changes in demographics of needle arts enthusiasts have been especially difficult to deal with, according to Braden. He said most cross-stitch and embroidery enthusiasts are getting older, with many slowing down as their vision or hand control decline, and fewer younger people have picked up the craft or have time to pursue it as they raise families.

"Over the last 10 years, it's slowly declined," he said.

Braden said they plan to continue the store liquidation sale that started with 20 percent off all inventory through Nov. 18, though the exact closing date will depend on sales. He said the store should be closed for good sometime in November.

What's less clear is the potential future for the Nordic Needle brand through its popular website, www.nordicneedle.com. The company could continue to exist online, he said, though the owners won't know for sure if they can keep doing internet sales until later this fall.

For now, Braden said he'll focus on keeping up with a steady stream of shoppers looking for a bargain or just a last chance to see the store before it closes.

"This is the busiest we've ever seen it," he said Friday, Sept. 29.

Business profile

What: Nordic Needle Inc.

Where: 1314 Gateway Drive S., Fargo

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday

Phone: (701) 235-5231

Online: www.nordicneedle.com

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is the Features Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He previously wrote for The Forum and the Grand Forks Herald.

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