Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's the End of Yet Another Era

Well, apparently, it's the end of yet another era.  I really didn't think I was going to live long enough to see the end of this era. But apparently I have.  What era is that?  Let me start out with saying this:
Hancock Fabrics is closing.  Now that doesn't mean a lot to most people.  But, for someone like me, who has sewn since the age of 4; followed behind her Momma through every imaginable fabric store in every state we visited and every country we lived in and every one we traveled through; drug my children through countless numbers of fabric stores and either rode them in buggies or sat them at the catalogs while I looked through fabrics (or fought with them telling them they couldn't get all the fabrics that they wanted on that trip); drug my first husband begrudgingly through the stores; and have to figure out who's going to find the most fabric to bring home between my me and my second husband in the stores now; having one of the few fabric stores in our area close down is a very big deal. 

We used to have a Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft store as well.  But it closed down a long time ago.  The two stores were less than a mile away from each other.  And you know what?  No one cared!  Because people that were looking for fabric would go to both stores!  We bought from both stores!  People that buy fabric at Hancock's now, also buy at Hobby Lobby across the parking lot. 

But that isn't why they're going out of business.  They have been in bankruptcy court trying to reorganize and searching for a buyer who would keep them open. Has been a long time coming. Like you..., they've been our "go to" fabric store for years. We moved to the  MS Gulf Coast in '77 and I've been a customer ever since. Have friends who went there with their moms as children. Definitely the end of an era. Will keep you posted as I hear. Wish it were better news to share with my sewing friends.

Well I guess we'll be making more trips to Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft Stores in Mobile or Slidell or Metairie. or we'll be spending more at Coastal Sew and Vac and at the Fabric Dock and Block Therapy. I don't mind paying the bigger bucks on quality fabrics after all, Jo-Ann's isn't that much cheaper now days and we certainly have to drive farther, but we certainly don't get the sales we got with Hancock Fabrics!!,,, and so many other fabric stores online, I guess you'll be seeing more and more of me and other quilters! As for my costume sewing needs, well, I will continue to head to Jefferson Variety Store in New Orleans!

But you know, you can't FEEL fabric when you buy it online.  You can't PET fabric online.  You don't know the quality and the softness or if light shines through it or if your autistic grandson can touch it without his skin crawling when you buy it online!  Don't get me wrong, I buy LOTS of fabric online.  But you can't see TRUE colors online.  You have to take the word of the people that the colors really go together; or that your colors on your computer are true; or the colors in their pictures.  If you get all the fabrics from one fabric line, then YES you can be assured that fabrics will go together.  but if you shop like I do, well, not too many people shop like me I guess. I shop all over the place.  I grab one or two fabrics from here and there and everywhere and then grab 3 or 4 from across the room and then come back and go back and forth and grab a few more and yes they'll all be  cottons and yes they'll all go together in one way or the other--or will eventually.  But you can't really do that by looking at little swatches on a computer screen.  And you really can't do that looking at a 4 x 6 inch smart phone screen.

So yes, it is the end of an era of being able to go into the big box store of fabrics that are reasonably priced, decent quality fabrics.  Hancock Fabrics may not have always had the high end, top of the line quilting cottons, but I've never gone wrong with them.  They may not have had the highest end velvets, satins and other bridal and specialty fabrics, but I've made some very special prom dresses and bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses from there.  I couldn't begin to count the number of Halloween costumes I've made over the years for my children and grandchildren and other people's children; and that's not even including costumes for Mardi Gras skits I've made.  I've outfitted numerous church plays, musicals and dinner theaters and banners with fabrics from there.  And how could I even begin to calculate how much I've used to make charity quilts for our guild to give to the NICU and CASA?  How would I begin to calculate how much I've used to make clothing for my own children, my grandchildren, for myself, for others over the last 35-40 years?  

I've become so accustomed to sewing without having everything I need already purchased knowing that Hancock's is just around the corner.  I know I can always just run down and go get what I need. If they liquidate and leave, where will I go to get that thread or zipper pattern or button? I don't want to have to drive the 45-60 minutes to Mobile or Slidell or the 1 1/2 hours to Metairie, LA.  I've  gotten used to going in and just walking in and seeing the new fabrics, talking to the staff and feeling the fabric.  I won't be able to do that anymore.  So yes, it looks like we must say good-bye to yet another era.

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