Moving their patch again
The sunny side of Emerson St may not be a patch on the shadier side, especially for a team of dedicated craftspeople who have upped sticks and moved shop to begin their 40th year in business.
Purple Patch has gone almost full circle, beginning life a few doors down from their new premises, in a back room of the Colenso Chambers building, where they stayed for 13 years. Across on the sunny side, the patch was theirs for 26 years before receiving a letter from the landlord a few months ago almost doubling their rent.
“It would have been unsustainable to stay. A customer came in and knew of an empty shop across the road — it all fell into place,” says Purple Patch president Jan Cooper.
More than 60 members produce a huge range of knitwear, wooden toys, jewellery, kitchen tiles, crocheted doilies, dolls clothes, hand towels, adult knitwear, hanging mobiles and other crafts including “lots of Art Deco”.
“I don’t think a lot of people realise what we’ve got in here,” Jan says.
Since November 1979, Purple Patch has been donating a portion of profits from the sale of its crafts to a variety of charities and organisations including Child Cancer, Kidney Society, St John, Christmas Cheer Appeal,
‘It would have been unsustainable to stay. A customer came in and knew of an empty shop across the road place.’ — it all fell into JAN COOPER, Purple Patch president
SPCA, Red Cross, Birthright, Barnados, Age Concern and Cranford. Next April is Purple Patch’s 40th AGM.
Jan says they have their ups and downs, enjoying a boost during cruise ship season and when holiday makers return each year. They also have out-oftowners who place orders by text.
“Our ladies come in, fill the shelves and we sell it. Our crafts are superbly made — it’s quality. Anything left, we donate to charity.” Jan says anyone is welcome to bring their crafts in.
“Just pop in — we try not to double up. We don’t know what’s coming in from one day to the next.”
Four volunteers staff the shop each day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. There’s always room for more, Jan says.
“I believe there’s a swing back to quality.”
Purple Patch president Jan Cooper in the new shop, Emerson St, Napier.