Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Death of a Fabric Store

I have a special place in my heart for Fabric World. When I moved to North Portland in 1988 there were no fabric stores in the area except Fabric World. Because of the missing letters in the sign I often referred to it as abic orld. I use to go there to pick up thread or zippers if I didn't want to drive all the way out to Fabric Depot or over to Mill End Fabrics.  Fabric World was one of the strangest fabric stores I have ever been inside. Half the store has kids clothes from the mid to late 70s' still on the rack with plastic covers over the clothes. The other half of the store was filled with polyester fabric from the same era. There were some gems in there every now and then. I was able to get some cotton jersey for really cheap when I started to sew with knit fabric. The price was decent and I was able to make a couple of nice Alabama Chanin dresses. One afternoon I went there for white thread, on the counter was a stack of what looked like some nice batiked fabric. There was a sign that said "recent imports", the price was about $5 a yard. I remember asking about the fabric and the woman behind the counter said the owner likes to travel, she buys "weird" fabric and sends it back to the store. I bought some very soft blue cotton batiked fabric, it felt like a voile. I loved that fabric. I want back a few more time, but never found the any more of that great fabric. I remember there were two very different women that worked there, one was an older very friendly woman who I would talk to about her grandkids and what I was working on, the other woman was not as friendly and always had conservative radio playing very loud. 

Last summer I went to Fabric World to get a zipper...but it was closed. There were several notes on the door and it looked like the mail had piled up. It looked like they had been closed for a couple weeks. I stopped by a couple more time to see what was up, there was still a store full of clothes and fabric, but there was no indication of why it was closed or if it was ever going to open again. 

In early March a friend told me that she was at City Liquidators and was told that they had bought the contents of Fabric World. WHAT!!!? I was told the woman that owned Fabric World passed away. Either her kids or her son (not sure if which) didn't want the store and just wanted to turn over the building. 

Searching the internet I could not locate any indication that woman who owned Fabric World had passed away. Her name is Rose Mary Gospodinovic, it's not a common name so you would think if she passed away there would be some record that would pop up. In fact the only thing that came up was the case against a Curtis Gibson who was found guilty in 2013 of stealing $1million from Rose in 2007-2009. He claimed she was a friend and he was inventing the money in property.  Rose Mary is about 88 years old so it may be that she is getting too old to take care of the business. She also had or has several other pieces of property that come up in her name. From my searches it seems that the property and business was put into a trust. I'm sure there is more to the story but this is all I have for now. 

As a fabric addict I decided to check out what City Liquidators had bought from Fabric World. I was told that Rose Mary had traveled a lot and often sent things she bought back to the store. That City Liquidators had taken out of the store a lot more than just 70's clothing and fabric. There was reported to be some expensive Gucci bags and shoes. I did not see the bags or shoes but I did locate an entire room of polyester fabrics. City Liquidators is selling the fabric by the bolt. There are some gems in the mix. I found some yellow 100% wool, some 70% wool and 30% nylon white, blue, green and red plaid and a bolt of burgundy plaid fabric (when I got it home I realized it was 100% acrylic). Several of the bolts are being sold for $29 a bolt, which for 10 yards of wool is excellent. But several of the bolts are not full bolts, so you are getting about 5 yards or less of fabric. The other problem for me is that I do not really need 10 yards of fabric, but I bought the bolts anyway. Some of the larger bolts are being sold for as much as $59 a bolt and the fake fur is being sold for $250 a bolt. I mean really!!!!...this fabric is about 30-40 years old. Polyester has come a long way, the polyester/acrylic they are selling is not a good kind....it's thick and very scratchy. Think of those nasty polyester pants with the elastic waist band that your grandmother wore...that's the stuff they are trying to sell. There are boxes of craft items, zippers that are $.99 (almost new price), tons of lace and some nice cotton rope that may be great for macrame. 

If you are like fabric this is worth checking out, but don't go there with high expectations. The price's will have to come down, in fact some of them have already dropped since I first went in to see what was available 3 weeks ago. They have re-priced 1/2 bolts of fabric to $10, but most of the 1/2 bolts are acrylic. If you have time to dig..you may find some great deals. I did locate some cottons and wools in the mix, so there are still some great fabric to be found. 

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