These are tough times for small independent fabric stores in New York City.
Escalating rents, neighborhood development pressures, and changing consumer shopping habits are all taking their toll.
Today I discovered that Paron's -- Paron's! -- will close on September 18th. Until then, everything in the store is 70% off. Paron's has been around since 1940. I remember passing by Paron's, decades before I sewed, when they were on 57th Street near Carnegie Hall. Later, they moved to 40th Street. Just a few years ago they moved again, one block south to 39th Street, to a much smaller space that somehow never seemed busy when I was there. It doesn't surprise me that they're closing; a little birdie told me they were paying $17,000 per month rent. That's a lot of fabric to sell.
|70% or 75% -- either way, it's a bargain.|
Just within the last year, PS Fabrics on lower Broadway shut its doors, Chic Fabrics merged with Fabrics for Less, The City Quilter will close this fall, and Trumart Discount Fabrics, just two blocks from where I live, now has this sign in the window:
I had heard Trumart is moving around the corner; we'll see.
I learned about Paron's imminent demise just this morning on Clio's Instagram feed; she'd passed the sign on her way to work. I decided I'd check it out myself and who should I run into but lovely Clio herself!
I also ran into Vogue Pattern designer, celebrity Carlos Correa. Naturally, I asked for a selfie and Carlos generously obliged.
I don't do well at sales events like these. It's easy to get carried away and, let's be honest: 70% off of something you're never going to sew with is still a waste of 30%. I made one careful selection and got out of there pronto -- sadly, Clio was not as fortunate: my last glimpse of her, she was balancing three bolts in two hands and audibly panting. (Trust me, however, when I say that she found some awesome fabric which I'm sure she'll share with you soon.)
I bought four yards of this gorgeous Italian 100% wool salt and pepper tweed suiting. I paid just $8 a yard.
I had a brief chat with Lucy, a Paron's employee who has worked there for years. She told me they'd have liked to stay on a little longer to extend the sale but the landlord made that financially impossible (basically tripling the rent).
It's sad for me when Garment Center fabric stores close, especially ones as well-curated as Paron's. The service was excellent, the fiber content and country of origin was listed on every bolt, and I almost always found something when I shopped there. Paron's was a highlight of MPB Day, too, from the very beginning.
|Smiley-faced MPB Day shoppers in 2016|
|Amanda in 2015 (that's Lucy on her right)|
|Paula in 2014|
|Claudine in 2013|
|Me and Johanna in 2012 (and Lucy on the right)|
In closing, did you ever shop at Paron's? If so, I hope you'll have a chance to visit them again between now and September 18th, if only to bid them farewell.
Have a great day, everybody!
|Michael models creamy Italian cotton shirting I picked up at Paron's earlier this year.|