Minnis Alderman, owner of the Knit Knook and Gift Gamut, said her intentions for opening the store 55 years ago were simply to have a “store that sold yarn” for those that liked to knit like herself. Since then, Alderman has moved locations twice, finally settling at her current address on Aultman Street since 1981. In that time, her store has grown to include gifts, cards, handmade crafts and private music lessons.
To Alderman, the variety the store now offers is just an extension of her refusal to grow up.
“I guess I could never decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I never did and never had to decide,” Alderman said.
Though she laughs about it, the Knit Knook’s variety has been what has kept the store afloat for so many years. The key, Alderman said, is diversifying enough to weather the economy when it’s down, and prosper when it is up.
“We used to have eight employees here during the holidays, now there is just me,” she said.
Not that she minds running the store by herself. Alderman said the favorite part of her job is getting to engage in conversation with her customers, or as she calls it, an “exchange of wisdom.”
Though the knitting side of the business has declined over recent years, Alderman’s music lessons on various instruments have grown in popularity. Alderman has always been involved in music, from her days as the head of the band program at Sacred Heart back in the early 80s. When someone from outside the band asked for a music lesson, she thought one private lesson wouldn’t hurt.
“I didn’t think much of it at the time. Then the word got out around town and I had 35 students,” the owner said.
Having a degree in both drama and music from the University of Georgia, Alderman is proficient in a variety of instruments, from piano and guitar to classical violin.
“I started music so young that I don’t even remember starting,” the owner said of her long music history
In addition to the music and knitting parts of her small shop, Alderman also started a subsection that works as a cooperative with local artists to sell their crafts in 1976 called “Creative Crafters.”
For more information on the Knit Knook and Gift Gamut’s offerings as well as information on private music lessons from Alderman, call 775-289-2116.