Thanks to you, our Yarn Bar is able to expand after 3.5 years of business! And we're expanding with a move to downtown Billings at 2909 2nd Avenue North, a little east of the intersection of 29th and 2nd, across from the former downtown Wendy's location (if you've been here a while - - otherwise, across from A&E Architects). Our new space will have an enclosed classroom, an office for Linda and Sue (to hide our paper clutter!), a wee kitchenette, basement storage & work space, AND lots of beautiful room for more fine yarns and merchandise for all of our creative lives. We're very excited to be a part of the downtown community and will undoubtedly be discussing that at length as we get to know it much better!
Also we are pretty excited about the actual building we are going into: officially called the Hedden Empire Building, comprised of the Hedden's Department Store building and the Empire Building. Hedden's was built in 1925 and if you can read this Gazette article from July 6, 1924, your eyesight is amazing!
The department store included a mezzanine level, ground level, and basement; the second floor was 22 offices. It remained a department store for quite a while (details are murky at this point) but sometime in the 70's, the Hedden and adjacent Empire Buildings were joined together in a distasteful way with some bad stucco and bizarre paneling. Original department store entrances were changed, mezzanine level was closed, and office space was created on the main floor where the new Yarn Bar will be located. The original boiler remained but struggled to keep the building warm; title company moved out . . . along came Brad and Carla Barker and a vision to restore the Hedden Empire Building! They bought the building about a year ago and have been working on it ever since. Next, enter the Yarn Bar wanting to explore some downtown space. Carla showed us around, little quirks about the building, and the rest is "history", as they say.
Fun fact: our Yarn Bar spot was the dry goods and notions department
at Hedden's, according to the Gazette article!
We love the original tile that would've led a customer into Hedden's east entrance. When the exterior was altered, the entryway disappeared and carpet was glued onto the tile. Brad and Carla have been able to remove that adhesive and we will treasure this connection to the building's past.
The staircases throughout the building are very pretty, even the one in our space that's had carpet or something glued onto it - the curves on the bottom steps would have led a shopper into a new department (furniture, back in the day).
At the top of the stairwell, we've had a wall taken out; seems like this might be closer to an original plan.
There's a secret garden walkway on the second floor where the buildings are joined - a little oasis!
We can't wait to find out more about our new home. If you have any connections to it, or can fill in any history about it, please let us know.