Readers Redesign Jo-Ann Fabrics

Forget Project Runway! SoundStitches readers have launched Project Jo-Ann’s Redesign! It’s incredible that my December post about the acquisition of J0-Ann Fabrics by a private equity firm is still gettings comments as of yesterday. Readers in the States and Canada have lots of opinions about offerings, selection, quality of fabrics, staff friendliness and competence — even restroom cleanliness! One reader wrote:

“I have lots of complaints about the Joanne [sic] store near me…There are almost no good stretch or jersey fabrics. They have a huge wall of quilting fabrics that are thin and cheap and in narrow widths. I have little use for that.”

A “small manufacturer” weighed in:

“I agree that JoAnn’s carries low end fabric….it has nothing to do with it being made overseas. I am a small manufacturer and when I buy fabric wholesale at a trade show I always ask if the fabric I am buying will be going into a chain store. They use the same print but on a lower end ‘grey cloth’, {the fabric it is printed on).”

Hmmm… I didn’t know anything about “grey cloth.” Here’s the post and feel free to post your opinions too!
Post about sale of Jo-Ann’s

I’m certainly not the final source on Jo-Ann’s — have you heard any other news? I challenge anyone to find anything referring to the sale on the Web site itself. I have never seen a corporate site with less useful information — have you? There is a release from March 17 about the opening of four stores in Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina. If locals have no other options I’m sure they’re thrilled to have a shop near them. I hope they will not put out of business small quilting or specialty stores. Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. is the private equity firm that purchased Jo-Ann Fabrics, and their December 23 release stated, “the transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar 2011.” I can’t help but believe that Jo-Ann’s debt-free status made it a choice buyout.  The same firm owns a shocking array of consumer brands, including The Container Store and David’s Bridal.

Anyway, I’m grateful for all of your comments — I try to respond to them all — and I know you’ll learn something about the state of sewing.

Source:, Leonard Green & Partners, L.P.

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