Napa County is on the verge of losing its last fabric store.
Hancock Fabrics, located in the River Park shopping center, will close in May or June, a store employee said. The company, which went bankrupt for the second time in February, will close the remaining 185 stores in the United States, a press release said.
The news left buyers in dismay.
Napan John Darnell stopped by the Hancock store on Monday afternoon to collect supplies for various art projects.
“It’s a little sad because now there won’t be any more fabric stores” in the area, Darnell said. “I am disappointed,” he said. As to where he will buy after Hancock closes, “I have no idea.”
The River Park store appeared to be busy Monday. “There are so many people shopping, I don’t know why they are closing,” Darnell said.
Falling income, high debt and a lack of credit led to the decision to file for bankruptcy, according to the company.
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“It was a wonderful neighborhood boutique,” said Marilyn Tetarchik of Sonoma.
“It was one of the few reasons we came to Napa,” said his companion, William Jelinek.
Tetarchik said she doesn’t like shopping for fabrics online “because you can’t see the colors or textures” on a computer screen.
“People don’t use fabric stores anymore,” Jelinek said. Unfortunately, for many people, buying something is cheaper and faster than it is to sew it, he said.
Tetarchik said she didn’t like the trend. “Making your own clothes is kind of self-expression,” she said.
Jelinek said he would miss expert advice from Hancock employees. Even though some stores like Walmart have a small selection of fabrics, these retailers would not offer the same level of expertise.
Hairstylist Norma Galvan works at Your Style Hair Salon, next to Hancock Fabrics. The shutdown is bad news, she said. Her senior customers enjoy picking up embroidery and crochet supplies at the store, she said. In addition, “there are a lot of people quilting in this city.”
The closure could impact the salon’s business, Galvan said. “This store brings a lot of people to the square.” When asked what the ideal replacement tenant would be, Galvan replied “another fabric store”.
Upon hearing that the store was closing, customer Luvlyn King expressed her dismay. “Now where are we going to get our things? “
Before fast and discount fashion retailers like Target and Walmart took hold, Napa was home to many fabric stores.
Longtime locals may remember Massen’s Fabrics, Fabrics Inc., House of Fabrics, and Nor-Mar Fabrics and Gifts. Other fabric stores were found in Saint Helena and Calistoga.
After Nor-Mar closed in 2014, Hancock Fabrics had to meet the needs of craftsmen and sewers in Napa. The store had a bit of everything from buttons to faux leather, quilting supplies, velcro, and bolts to interior decorating fabrics.
While stores like Target and Michaels sell a handful of basic sewing supplies, Napans who want something more will have to travel to Santa Rosa, Fairfield, Vallejo or elsewhere for these goods.