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When the competition closes its doors…

Hancock Fabrics is no more.  The location near me finally closed its doors. 

I fondly remember many a Saturday morning spent as a kid with my mom as we made the rounds to Cloth World and Hancock’s to look for fabric. You see, Mom made just about all my clothes until I reached sixth grade. When I got older, we made the trek to Buckhead for special fabrics at Sew Magnifique. Sadly, Sew Magnifique closed many years ago and the only place left to get quality dressmaker fabric in Atlanta is at Gail K’s.

With Hancock’s closed and it being a Sunday (Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday) it meant a trip through all of the construction traffic to Joann’s to pick up a few items I needed and to use a gift card I’d received for my birthday.

I had a stack of coupons with me (and on my phone), which the cashier dutifully scanned during check-out. Be aware: Joann has changed its coupon policy! Books are no longer eligible for coupons, die cuts are not allowed…read the mice type…and my 15% teacher discount which used to good be on EVERYTHING is also now restricted. The recent sales flyers have also featured 30% discounts instead of the 40-50% discounts as in the past.

Is this lessening of discounts and a more restrictive coupon policy because Hancock’s has closed (no need for as deep discounts to be competitive) or is it because the sewing/craft market has changed?

Yes, online sales are increasing, but according to one industry source,  80% of sewing/craft shopping is still done locally either at a brick & mortar location or a “pop-up” shop (like at a guild meeting).  People go to a particular location because of relationships they develop with staff at the store or because the shop has the tools/supplies they need at fair prices. Hancock’s was my go-to place for general fabric needs and if I needed help when I got stuck on a sewing project (NOT quilting). The staff at my local Hancock’s had a depth of sewing knowledge that is sadly lacking from most big box craft stores.

So now, I have to hunt for other places to meet the sewing needs that Hancock’s used to cover. Inconvenient, yes, but I am beginning to see an opportunity for me to fill some of the void – at least on a local level.