La Grande loses popular dyed yarn store

·2 min read

Jul. 4—LA GRANDE — La Grande is losing a business that appeared to have a promising future.

Rebel Woolworks, a dyed yarn shop at 113 Adams Ave., closed in June. The store's owner, Tara Sager, wrote on her store's Facebook page that she will be moving to Alaska where she has accepted a construction project management position.

Sager's store celebrated its one-year anniversary in April and seemed then to have a bright path ahead of it.

"It's been a whirlwind, but I'm really looking forward to next year," Sager said in an April 14 Observer article. "It's moved from what was a hobby turning into a business, into a business that is continuing to grow and expand."

Sager declined to discuss why she closed her shop last month. However, on her Facebook page she wrote that her business was impacted when her Instagram account was hacked in late May.

"As a dyer that depends upon my platform to support my business, this has been devastating," the Facebook post said. "There were massive monetary losses with this hack as well."

Sager said the money lost and the hack forced her to make her move.

"This loss has forced us to look outside the box at options to sustain our family. The option we decided on has been something on our back burner for a couple years and is going to take us away from Eastern Oregon," the Facebook post said.

Sager started selling dyed yarn online in 2010, knitting hats and gloves to help people stay warm in Alaska, where she then lived, during the winter. She moved to La Grande in May 2020 and was intrigued with the town's downtown area, according to the April 14 Observer article, which reported that Sager's business had become a staple of the business landscape downtown.

The business included a mercantile on the left side of the space, offering teas, coffees, gourmet desserts and other goods from local stores around the Pacific Northwest. In April Sager said the mercantile was serving as a good resource for customers on their way to go camping or just passing by on a day trip through the area.

Rebel Woolworks earlier won a La Grande Business plan contest hosted by Eastern Oregon University's Small Business Development Center, La Grande Main Street, Ignite and the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District. Rebel Woolworks received $3,000 from the city of La Grande's Urban Renewal Agency for winning the contest.

La Grande City Manager Robert Strope said the store will not be required to pay back these funds. Strope said the purpose of the contest was to help a new business get its start in La Grande.