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Store helps buyers ‘yarning’ for sales

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Never straying from its policy of “Only the best always for less,” Smiley’s yarn store, at 92-06 Jamaica Ave., has been selling quality products at discount prices to Queens’ residents for almost 70 years, its present owner said.

Trudy Edelman and her husband own the Woodhaven store that has been in the area since 1935, and she said every product her store sells, including yarn, buttons and instructional books on knitting, is sold at the lowest price compared with other stores.

“We are the largest discount yarn store in New York City,” Edelman said. “We’re a self-service store selling knitting and crocheting supplies.”

Edelman said her husband’s father and grandfather, both deceased, started the store almost 70 years ago in the southeast Queens neighborhood. The business has remained in the family’s hands since its inception, when the grandfather immigrated from Russia and started selling yarn.

“We sell everything from 79-cent yarn to natural fibers,” Edelman said. “This place is real simple: It’s geared to the serious knitter.”

The family tradition at the store is still true today, as Edelman said her husband works above and in the showroom daily and her mother-in-law runs the cash register. Edelman said the family established Smiley’s at a different location than the one on Jamaica Avenue but that it has been always been in this area.

She said the store never changed its name from Smiley’s.

Among the buttons, instructional books, patterns and knitting manuals is manager Ray Stambouli, who said he has been working at Smiley’s since he was a stock boy, more than 20 years ago.

“It’s easy to work here because of the owners,” said Stambouli, who lives on Long Island. “They give me the leeway to make decisions and get my job done.”

Stambouli, who takes care of the day-to-day operations at Smiley’s, said, “Most customers just come in here for the yarn,” he said of the store that houses its collection in more than six aisles throughout the store. The selection of yarn is so large, in fact, that it covers all four of the store’s walls and provides customers with an ample amount of choices.

Edelman said Smiley’s does not offer instructional classes on how to knit. The Brooklyn native, who now lives on Long Island but used to live in Queens, said her business instead supplies the city with its knitting supplies and lets them do the rest.

“We just offer great prices and a great selection,” Edelman said.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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