Fabric store

Family-owned fabric store celebrates six decades in Newtown

NEWTOWN, Connecticut – In 1957, when most women were housewives, Louise Gardner was an entrepreneur and business owner. And she opened Chintz-N-Prints on South Main Street in Newtown to help these women spruce up their homes.

While many businesses in the region have opened and closed since then, Chintz-N-Prints has survived – and thrived – and will soon be celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The 7,000 square foot company sells fabric for drapes, covers, upholstery and pillows, and foam rubber for seat cushions. The store also sells sunbrella, a material resistant to the exterior.

Gardner’s son David took over the business in 1979 and David’s daughter Laura took over in 2001. She looks forward to working every day.

“It’s all about people,” said Laura Gardner. “I like to bond and meet other fabric enthusiasts as passionate as I am.”

But Gardner said the store’s biggest competition now is the internet. But she strongly recommends that people who buy fabric go to a physical location. “In a store, you can touch fabrics and look at sample books,” she said.

Newtown store manager Ivy Chirco said many people are intimidated by interior design because they don’t know where to start. “Here we work as interior designers every day. It is a free service that we provide to our clients,” she said.

Customers bring pillows, tiles, paint chips and wallpaper from their homes. “We help them find fabrics to coordinate in their room. That kind of service you can’t get on the internet,” added Chirco, who has a BFA in fashion design from the Academy of Art. University in California.

“We encourage people to take samples and rolls of fabric home,” Chirco said. “We do this because the colors can change depending on the lighting. In fluorescent light, some colors such as neutrals may appear more red or yellow when you look at them in your home.”

According to Chirco, the gray color is currently popular in interior fabrics. “It came from the eruption of the shabby chic look, which is all white. So the transition was to introduce the grays as neutrals,” she explained.

Chirco added that for the summer, aqua is also an “in” color. “It’s a cool color. It adds serenity and calm.”

According to Gardner, in the 90s, actor Paul Newman often visited the store with his wife, actress Joanne Woodward. “They were buying fabrics for their home in Westport,” said Gardner, 36, of Newtown.

Chintz-N-Prints is located at 39 S. Main St. in Newtown. For more information call 203-364-5333 or click here.

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