Cadence Kidwell with her staff at Fuzzy Goat Yarns.

Photo courtesy of Fuzzy Goat Yarns.

Cadence Kidwell has master’s degrees in psychology and English, and a Ph.D. in creative writing and Latina literature. In 2014, she left her career in academia to open Fuzzy Goat Yarns in the small Southern town of Thomasville, Georgia, about twenty-five minutes from Tallahassee.

Driven by her lifelong desire to be constantly learning, Kidwell threw herself into research and planning before she opened her shop. She worked closely with the Small Business Development Center to prepare a business plan, and she visited yarn shops all over the U.S.

The result is a shop located in the new Creative District of historic downtown Thomasville, Florida, in a formerly run-down building she and her husband renovated. Over ninety percent of the products they carry are independently made, many from Southern and American sources. Now five years into owning a yarn shop, Kidwell is a member of a mastermind group through Retail Mavens that keeps her connected to other retailers, and she serves as chair of the Main Street Board.

Fuzzy Goat Yarn is located in historic downtown Thomasville, Florida, in a newly renovated building.

Photo courtesy of Fuzzy Goat Yarns.

Knowing the Customer and the Community

Fuzzy Goat caters to knitters and crocheters both new and experienced, both local and from farther away.

“One of our best customers is in Texas and has never been able to make it personally to the shop yet,” says Kidwell. “We have a lot of visitors to our little town who seek us out.”

In addition to knitting and crochet classes, Fuzzy Goat is deeply involved in the greater community, as Kidwell explains: “We partner with our local bookstore, The Bookshelf, to host Stitches & Stories where we encourage knitters and crocheters to support indie shops through Librofm’s audio books. We bring in alpacas from the local alpaca farm. Most importantly, we host the local elementary school for fiber activities – introducing them to small business life and craft, and giving our customers the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to our community by assisting in the activity. We also host a retreat at our very special local bed and breakfast, The Paxton 1884.”

Proprietor Cadence Kidwell.

Photo courtesy of Fuzzy Goat Yarns.

Making an Impact

Fuzzy Goat has sponsored the Thomasville Center for the Arts’s ‘Art in the Open’ public fiber art project, they participate in World Wide Knit in Public Day, they developed a yarn amnesty program delivering hundreds of pounds of yarn to a Georgia women’s prison, and they contributed to a public amphitheater and creative district projects in the shop’s neighborhood.

The shop employs five part-time staff, including Kidwell’s husband as the facility manager. The other team members work on the shop floor to serve customers, and one additionally manages the shop’s social media.

Kidwell sees many opportunities in owning a brick-and-mortar craft store: “Being part of our community, both nearby and from around the country. 

Being able to truly impact our local community through sponsorship of girls softball, helping our in-need local elementary school, and putting very special yarns directly into the hands of someone who needs some encouragement on how to use them. Being able to see the grin on someone’s face when the perfect color combo comes together for them.”

Looking Toward the Future

As for challenges, she can struggle to find time to pursue the many new ideas she has. “It is easy for me to spend all of my time working on keeping the shop stocked and trying out a few new programs, but not be able to reflect.”

“I have to consciously schedule time to ponder new ideas so that I can stay fresh.”

Fuzzy Goat Yarns celebrates its fifth birthday this September, 2019, with a big event. As for what else is coming in the near future, the shop is planning to offer subscription boxes and to set up their online shop to sell unique kits.

Kim Werker

Kim Werker


Kim Werker is a Vancouver-based writer who is building a community of creative adventurers. 

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