This past Saturday after a 4-hour long study session in the library, I headed over to my LYS. The name of the store is Ivelise's Yarn Shop and it's been there for over 43 years! The owner, and woman named Ivelise, is from Cuba (must have came to the USA before Castro was made president/dictator of Cuba) and is turning 82 in a few months! The store is very spacious with a funny and helpful staff and a big table in the middle of it so that people could sit and knit and be merry. The majority of the customers are women (the only men I've ever seen in the store were my boyfriend who is a knitter and a repairman), and the yarns are beautiful. The store doesn't charge for lessons or offer classes that you would have to pay for, from what I understand (but I've never been interested in sitting in on a knitting lesson anyway). The prices are pretty reasonable and the atmosphere is relaxing.
But the reasons above are not why I continue to buy from this store. Yeah the prices are fair but I could get better deals online for many of the yarns my LYS carries (I could even get free shipping at some websites). Also there is the fact that the Internet offers more variety than any one brick and mortar store can give you simply because you have access to more than one venue online. There's also a ton of great free patterns to choose from online and all you got to do is sit naked (or dressed whichever you prefer) in front of your computer and click around for a couple minutes. The possibilities are somewhat endless on the Internet when it comes to knitting.
Still, there is just something about a brick and mortar store that you can't get from a online one. For example, one to one advice. On the Internet, you're not guaranteed that you'll find the info that you'll need (or correct information for that matter). A book store filled with knitting books is just as confusing seeing that you would have to thumb thru each and every technique book about knitting till you found your problem and solution to it. The only thing that would guarantee that you get the best solution to your problem is going to an expert and physical knitting stores are chock full of them.
There's also the social aspect of knitting that I'm just in love with. Blogs are great for getting to know perfect strangers through the eyes of our craft but there's nothing like actually seeing another person knit in front of you. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only person in the world that's obsessed with knitting.
In my opinion, physical yarn stores will never be fully replaced by virtual ones. I think of it this way: people still live in physical houses, though we are knee deep in the Internet era of the world. People aren't going to stop building supermarkets just because everyone is buying their groceries online (at least I don't think). People aren't going to stop living in physical houses and replace them with virtual homes on the Internet (they'd have a vitual home but they wouldn't have a bed to sleep in or a toliet to piss in). And yeah maybe one day we can all do our shopping online but vendors must have a physical address to send them to. The day you can send a mattress to kelly@KellysHouse134MainStSpringfieldIL.com, is the day that all physical stores, including those that sell yarn, will no longer exist.