The store that shall not be named.....

The kids are away for the weekend (THANK YOU Uncle Vinny!!!) so my husband Chris and I decided to run around all day today and do errands together. Which is something that parents of young children don't often get to do. I swear, as I get older my life becomes a bit lamer and lamer.... The tasks for today: Food shopping and a recon mission.

We had a joAnn fabrics in out area a few years back, as many recall, but they closed and were replaced by a Michaels right over in the Cortlandt Town Center. But now they're reopening shops all over the place around here. And the latest one in our area to open is located in the Beach Shopping Center right between Rt.'s 6 & 202 in Peekskill.

So my plan for today was to go in there and take a look around... Ya know, scope the place out. Check out the merch, check out the pricing, check out the staff. Just to pretty much be critical of everything I saw. So when I walked in I noticed one distinct difference between what I will henceforth refer to 'them' and 'us'. They had a very brightly lit up space, the aisles were clear, there were staff all over the place... The bolts of fabric were neatly on the shelves and the place generally had a light and airy feel to it. We are in a basement and because of that we have low ceilings and there is one thing I've always, always hated about our shop- The classroom with no windows. And because of stuff like that it can be hard to light things up and keep everything looking bright and cheerful. Not that it's impossible but it takes a bit more effort that it should. We also have too much stuff... It's not like you can't walk down the aisles in Fabric Mart, but I'v always wanted them to be wider and more accommodating. So they've got us on some points. And as far the bolts of fabric being so 'nice and neat'... I give them only a few more weeks before those bolts are falling all over the place. Trust me on this one, bolts of fabric being nice and neat on the shelves only lasts a little bit before gravity does what it knows best and brings them all slouchy and crashing all over the place. And there are only so many times you're willing to pick up the same bolt of fabric before you just wanna give it the 'ol heave, ho right out the door!

But there were a few interesting things I noticed: On their lower end fabrics, their prices were a bit cheaper than ours. Ya know, poly/cotton broadcloth and stuff like that was $3.99 a yard and ours is $4.25/yard. But we're talking a minimal difference. They don't really have any nicer or higher end cottons there- Most of them were a very low thread count and poor quality and the prices of it were reflected in that. As far as the fabric that was of actually comparable quality: It was more expensive. And I mean by  a couple of dollars more expensive. I couldn't believe it and it's not what I expected. Granted, they offer more coupons and discounts which is probably why it's more expensive. So when they're done taking discounts and what not they're still making money. But who only buys a fabric when it's on sale? Many of us buy fabrics and patterns because we have an idea of what we want to do, or a project that we're working on. They did have more of a selection. I mean, they have more floor space so they can fit more stuff in there. And their special order fabrics... There was next to no selection in that department. 

And here's the biggest contrast of them all: I did not see a SINGLE employee helping someone. Not a single one. They were all cutting fabric or putting fabric away or looking at a computer or doing something that didn't involve helping someone. They smiled as they walked past me and they seemed friendly enough. But to be honest, I couldn't believe I saw so many employees "working". I'm sure they were doing what they were told to do, they were putting things away, they were cutting fabric for people... They were even cleaning things up. 

I don't know about you guys, but when it comes to sewing and creating sometimes we need help picking fabrics or bouncing ideas off one another. I would rather walk in to a messier store and know that someone there will leave the bolt of fabric on the table and walk out and help me for a few minutes and not just smile as they go by...

I wanna know what you guys think. If you've been there, if you haven't... what brings you there instead of to Fabric Mart? The good, the bad, the ugly.... We've got some big changes coming to Fabric Mart in 2014 and we need your help to figure out what we're doing and what we're going for. It's you guys that make Fabric Mart the place it is.... We're nothing without you and we want to know what you think!