Thank goodness for JoAnn’s!

I already know what you’re thinking. You think I have lost my mind completely because everyone hates JoAnn’s. Why, it’s practically a requirement for all sewers! Their stores are disorganized, their fabric is yucky, their help isn’t knowledgeable, they sell too many garden ornaments, too much fleece, and so on, ad nauseum, right? Sewers all over the internet are always complaining about JoAnn’s. I wonder if the complainers have ever thought about how terribly inconvenient it would be if the stores closed altogether?

Let’s face it, fabric we can buy online. Sewing advice we can get online. But, what would you do if you couldn’t hop over to JoAnn’s and pick up a few patterns, some thread or notions? My closest independent store is 30 minutes away and doesn’t have several aisles of notions or a huge selection of patterns. So, today, I am going to be thankful for JoAnn’s because they:

1. carry Gutermann thread
2. have a great selection of notions
3. carry Woolly Nylon
4. carry MaxiLock
5. have a large pattern inventory
6. sell chocolate!
7. have pattern sales that our friends abroad are very jealous of
8. 50% off the notions wall sales!
9. have friendly help (at least the ones around here) even if they don’t know how to sew
10. spoil us rotten with coupons

Silver linings, people! So, when is the next Vogue sale? :-)

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30 responses to “Thank goodness for JoAnn’s!

  1. Hurray for #6!

    I know what you mean. I actually buy fabric there from their 1/2 price clearance bin sale to work up my toilles. Where else could I find something (even if it’s turquoise polka dots!) that mocks up a chiffon wedding gown for $20?

    I also buy bolts of fusiknit there. It’s the same price with their 40% off coupon as it is to buy it wholesale, plus there’s no shipping.

    giving credit where it’s due….

  2. Summerset

    Hey, I shop there quite a bit. The closest Jo-Ann’s is 20 minutes away, and other than Wal-mart that’s it unless you want to drive 30 minutes or further. I agree with the garden ornaments and fleece comments, *but* when I need zippers, thread, binding and machine needles, they’ll probably have it. Once in a while you can find a fabric gem if you’re patient and look hard.

  3. coolobreeze

    Joann’s closing its doors….. Yes, it could happen and so many Hancock Fabrics stores around the nation have. Then what would I do for the quick notions, the “muslin” cheap fabrics, the abiltiy to touch material….

    I, too, am thankful for my Joann’s store. Thank you for the reminder!

  4. robyn

    You are so right, Gigi. I even used to find a nice piece of fabric there from time to time. My local Joann’s and Hancock’s both closed, so I can’t pick up anything conveniently and easily any more. (and I’m in a major metro area!)

  5. JoAnn’s — the store you love to hate! Thank’s, Gigi, for “keeping it real!”

  6. Susan C

    Well for all the griping and complaining I couldn’t believe how many people were upset about not getting their 40% coupon in the last sales flyer : ) I too depend on Joanns for lots of things, thread, patterns, and interfacing come to mind, and don’t know what I would do if they didn’t close at 9:00 on Fri and Saturdays. Did you all notice that the latest flier has a 40% coupon that has no start date? I think it’s good until 4/18/07. I think maybe they’re trying to make up for last time.

  7. Amen, Gigi. I don’t have one locally but buy bolts online when necessary. It’s always a good thing to be reminded of our many blessings!!!

  8. What a refreshing post! It is sometimes a lot harder to see the positive in something. Sometimes you do have to consider something’s absence to really appreciate it.

  9. You nailed it! While I avoid shopping at my local Joann’s during peak sales times I sure do appreciate having one ten minutes away from my home. That’s where I purchase notions, thread, patterns, sewing magazines, as well as the occasional piece of fabric. Thanks for the positive reminder about Joanns!

  10. Jen

    I feel the same way. You can’t beat their sales for other things like interfacing and patternease tracing paper etc too. They definitely aren’t perfect, but I save a ton of money by shopping for a lot of supplies there.

  11. I admit it I like Joanns! For all the above reasons you mentioned and because you can find some great ‘novelty cottons’ (great for bags, aprons, etc.).

  12. LauraM62

    I agree whole heartedly, as where I live a very small JoAnn’s is what I have, unless I want Wal-mart. I do count on JoAnn’s too! For all the reasons you mentioned, plus I actually look at fabric, and even buy some of the fabric. I like to touch it, it gives me ideas on weights, textures, percentages, etc before I buy more fabric online where I can’t touch. I always spend in my JoAnn’s hoping to keep them, my only sewing store, in business in my area. It also gives my girls that touch & feel love of fabric – gazing at pattern books. Thanks for reminders that some things are silver lined.

  13. CarolynD

    Hancocks has filed chapter 11 I heard. So they are facing troubles now too.

  14. As a non-US citizen, I agree with nb.7 & 8 completely. I turn green with envy every time I read about any kind of sale :-)

  15. Karla

    Okay, okay…the fabric selection isn’t inspiring, but I do find ways to spend money in there. They have apparently done some kind of vector analysis to ensure that although there are 5 of them in the Orlando, I have to drive a minimum of 30 minutes to get to any one of them. They are in cahoots with the oil companies…or my husband.

  16. I must be one of the few sewers on the planet who does not hate JoAnn’s for any reason. While I agree they don’t always have the best selection of fabrics and their fleece and garden gnome sections are OUT OF CONTROL, I have found some great fabric pieces there – and the prices are usually decent. At my local store, many of the people who work there sew and I can usually get pretty good assistance when I need it.

    I absolutely agree with your list about their extensive notions, pattern and thread selection and the majority of my JoAnn’s shopping is on those three items as well as muslin and sometimes interfacing. I am one of the few lucky people whose local Hancock is not shutting down (at least not in the near future) and I absolutely prefer to drive across town to Hancock’s if I’m buying fabric locally (the only local independents are quilt shops) but JoAnn’s really corners the market in the other sewing necessities.

    Thank you for reminding us all to be thankful for what we have and making the best of our local resources!

  17. A bonus from the Joann’s SuperStore in Concord, CA is that they let my ASG’s neighborhood group meet there. It’s sew nice to have a place get together with 5-10 other sewists, that has a cutting mat, tables enough for laying out a pattern, electricity that pulls down from the ceiling enough for as many sewing machines and privacy enough for us to working on our fitting challenges. All that and chocolate!

  18. Mary T

    Right on, Gigi! Although I never had a Joann’s close by, I am so sad my closest Hancock’s is closing.

  19. I have to agree as well. Actually, Our Joanns has gotten much better, but leaves a lot to be desired. You have to be willing to plow through the “bargain” fabrics and there is where you may find the treasures. Not that I’ll be finding any wool crepe or silk charmeuse, but some decent cotton blouse material, linen, and a few other great finds (poly print lining material)

  20. JoAnns is actually farther from me than the the mega independent and the fancy boutiques (one is three blocks from my house!)

  21. Kara

    So true! So true! I have on occasion found cute fabric there, and its GREAT for notions!

  22. Well Gigi I am just going to be contrary here! I am not a huge fan of Joann’s and I have managed very nicely through the internet to accomplish all of those things you mentioned without stepping foot in that store…now I don’t begrudge all of you the pleasure of shopping there…I just choose not to now or ever more shop there!

  23. Joan

    I must agree how blessed we truly are in the USA. In the local area just Southeast of LA we have many wonderful fabric stores, and quilt stores. Our local JoAnn’s has closed (2 minutes away) and our local Hancock is closing ( 20 Min away). We, at our Adult School sewing class are sad, but not that sad. We have other JoAnn’s 20 min away in any direction. You really can’t beat their sales. They all differ in the amount and variety of items they carry. We have some JoAnn’s super stores here that are very nice and carry a variety of items. I heard they accept Michael’s coupons, also. Haven’t tried it, though. There is a certain excitement that comes with going into a fabric store. I remember as a young sewing having a great time at Newberry’s, Coronet, the basement in Penny’s, Broadway, Montgomery Ward. I have always taken my daughter to fabric stores and let her choose her stash of fabric she might make when her school schedule allows. I’m hoping she gets the sewing bug. She’s very creative. I have to admit the only thing lacking in Joann’s is the quality quilting fabric and quality designer fashion fabrics for clothing for teens and young adults. I also love shopping at all those wonderful quilt stores we have in our area. There’s just something wonderful about meeting someone in a fabric store and chatting about our latest projects. There are no strangers in a fabric store. Don’t you agree?

  24. Celeste

    Thank you for making us all pause and think. My two Hancock’s are closing. They lady there told me she heard JoAnn’s is filing bankruptcy. Let’s face it, WalMart has put alot of people out of business with their cheap prices, undercutting suppliers and causing small businesses to go under. Now those dirty rotten scoundrels are closing their fabric departments. Please ladies, shop your conscience and don’t give your business to WalMart. And let’s all hope JoAnn’s can pull things together.

    But then, maybe this will help the small fabric stores that are still out there. I have one close by that is still keeping their heads above water so now their only competition is Jo-Anns.

  25. I’m so lucky because I have two JoAnns and a Fabric Place within a 20 minute drive of my house. I’m not big on shopping at any of them, but I’m glad they are there when I need shoulder pads, notions or patterns. I stopped even looking at those “I Hate JoAnn” and similar threads ages ago.

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  27. Carolyn

    I guess we are lucky the Jo Ann’s in our town is great. We love the people and it is really clean. I looks their notions.


  28. Beavis

    Yeah, JoAnn’s sells fabric with 600-800% markup and they can barely keep their stores open. Who would have thought? Notions, trims oh let’s say 300-500% markup/margin.

    The Internet is definitely having it’s toll on them and this is good for sewers in general.

    JoAnns buyers coerce mills into selling fabric by the pound, after saying it is worthless to anyone else but them, and then sending out to their stores and for ridiculous retail prices. Shame on them.

    Sure they might be convenient for a zipper or cone of thread, but did you ever hear of the term “fair price for a fair product”.

    Their demise is their own doing. Greed got em good am will continue to haunt them.

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  30. Thank you for posting this. I have complained about JoAnn’s many times – mostly because I remember (I *think* I remember) being able to get so much more in the way of fabrics there, 20 yrs ago. But I do go there, and I do appreciate the convenience and the sales, and I ought to admit it. :-)

    And sometimes amongst the weird “bargain” fabrics, I’ve found silk charmeuse. I’m not kiddng. And silk broadcloth, fairy often. So I always check, in hopes there’ll be a hidden goodie. Sometimes there is.