People gather at a STITCHES event.
Today XRX announced that it will be hosting a trade show for the yarn industry in 2021, filling a void left by The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) which announced last month that it would be suspending operations.
XRX CEO Benjamin Levisay wrote in today’s announcement that he is personally “very sad” about TNNA’s closure and has fond memories of attending the show when he was in junior high school with his parents who owned a yarn shop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“It was a big deal for us to go to the show and figure out what the shop would carry,” he recalled. He attended many TNNA shows since returning to the family business two decades ago.
According to Levisay, since TNNA’s closure many industry executives have reached out to XRX inquiring whether the company might be willing to put on an industry trade show. XRX runs the STITCHES events, a series of consumer shows that take place in various parts of the country throughout the year. “We realize not only could we do this but we want to do this,” Levisay wrote in today’s announcement.
“It is not our intention to replace the TNNA association but to give yarn companies and suppliers a wholesale venue where Local Yarn Shops can attend, be inspired, and purchase products and supplies.”
The new trade show will include an educational component and a fashion show, as TNNA had. It will be open to the trade only.
“And we have more ideas—gathered from our 29-year history in producing consumer shows as well as our experience attending many wholesale quilting and sewing shows,” Levisay wrote. “We are also consulting long-standing TNNA members to benefit from their knowledge and experience, which we believe will help everyone be more successful at our new wholesale show.”
The first one will take place in May 2021, just before STITCHES United in Atlanta. XRX is working to send out contracts for both the consumer and trade shows sometime in the next 45 days.
Many in the yarn industry expressed gratitude upon hearing the announcement. Heather Walpole, the owner of Ewe Ewe Yarns, said, “Such exciting news. What a huge relief.”
Shannon Okey, publisher of Cooperative Press, said, “I think it makes sense and it’s something industry pros have talked about off and on for years — why not tack the wholesale aspect of a show on to an existing retail show? It’s one less trip for yarn businesses to make, so it lowers expenses.”
Okey added that XRX also has something else in its favor. “I think XRX could also accommodate another ask that small fiber businesses have had for years: moving the trade show portion around to different areas of the country will allow more businesses to attend. Maybe this time it’s in Atlanta but next time they tack it on to Stitches West, and after that, it’s in Chicago.”