Anybody know who owns Joann's fabric stores?

birdtalkerNovember 17, 2011

Joann's used to be decent, even had great fabrics then they ran out all the other stores and recently they got really bad. They rearranged our local store and now it is downright filthy, messy and disorganized. The shelves are mostly empty and the aisles are so tiny you can't walk down them. I was wondering if it had recently sold or in in bankruptcy or something? I'd like to boycott all their related businesses. Any body know anything about it?

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I don't know who owns them, either, but they are terrible people.

Our JoAnn's will not let paying customers use the restroom; it's for "Employees Only". Even if a person just had a surgery and may need to "go" quickly; even if a person is 8 months pregnant and her compressed bladder has passed its 2-tablespoon still have to leave the store, trek down the strip mall, into and through a huge grocery store to use their facilities.

I got so angry about this policy that I wrote the company through the "contact us" link on their home page. They said basically that was the store's policy and they wouldn't interfer. I'll try to find the email and post it here.

You're spot-on about the "downright filthy, messy and disorganized" conditions, too.

I try to not shop there if I can help it. I will grab a 99-cent pattern now and then but everything else can be mail-ordered or can wait until I make my twice-a-year trip to Fargo.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:00AM
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They were bought by a large private investment group. IIRC, it was completed this summer. There are several other businesses the group owns.

Keep in mind, in order to survive, they had to go to a stronger business approach. Successful fabric stores aren't as warm & fuzzy as they used to be. Customer service, store standards, and satisfaction aren't valued. Sales/profit are valued above all else. Shopping at a fabric store is like shopping at your grocery store now. It's sad in a way, but if it were otherwise, your local fabric store would be closed by now.

As far as the bathrooms go, Caroline, you would be shocked at what the public does to trash restrooms (as well as shoplifing). If I could have, I'd have locked the restrooms at the fabric store I used to work at. And remember, few stores offer restrooms to their customers. Again, it's a business decision. Pay someone to frequently clean filthy bathrooms? Or close it and put that money into another function? That's how they stay profitable. And being the only game in town in many markets, they know you'll gripe as you trudge through the mall to a restroom, then trudge back to buy your stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bloomberg article

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:59AM
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I have noticed the difference, too. I went to a big sale they had and had 37 people in front of me for cutting fabric. They took away having 3 cutting areas into 1. What a mess. I wrote to the main office and quickly got a response. In a few weeks I went back during the week and it wasn't busy. I talked to the cutting lady. She was there the first time I was there. She told me they had been sold and were changing a lot of things. She said they were getting a lot of complaints. I went to a smaller store close to me and talked to them about what had happened at the big Indy store. They told me they have cut back on their help. They were only allowed to have 2 people working in the store at one time. She said it really gets bad when they are really busy. I have not found the stores to be dirty or disorganized but they sure lack the help. The workers themselves have always been very nice and as helpful as they can be.

Don't fault the workers, their hands are tied and have to do it the way they are told.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 3:47PM
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the local store here was messy and unorganized but in the last year has straightened up. the problem is more craft stuff, less fabric. If you want anything besides fleece or cotton quilting type you're out of luck. And always different help, they must not give them enough hours to keep good help on.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:11AM
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Ours is getting better with the type of fabrics they are carrying, but still don't have a huge collection.

I went down there for the Veteran's Day Weekend sale, as I was looking for specific fabric. When I went to the cutting table, there were only 2 cutters. They were on #76 of the take-a-number system, and when I went to get a number, it was #2. I left it there, put my fabric back where I found it, and left. It just wasn't going to be that big of a savings for the amount of time I would have had to wait to have my fabric cut.

I hope things get better....


    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 5:26PM
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I've learned to never, ever darken the door on a weekend afternoon. I go first thing Saturday; Sunday is even better. I hate the single checkout never fails I need a spool of thread and there are 10 people ahead of me with carts full. Another thing they need is an information table. Many times one of the cutters is occupied forever trying to explain patterns and sewing to someone who has apparently never sewn anything in her life and suddenly decided she's going to make a prom dress or her daughter's wedding dress.

For me, like many of you, JoAnn's is the only game in town, unless I want to pay $15 a yard for quilt shop fabric.

Okay, off my soapbox now.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:22PM
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In our Joann's I think the manager they had was not very good. Once a new manager came in, things were tidied up. He's since left, but the store looks pretty good, still. So maybe the old manager just needed some retraining, because she's still there.

If I wanted good service anyplace, I would avoid Saturday and Sunday afternoons. My frustration with them is the ever-growing wall of fleece and calicoes, and no quality garment fabric. But i can't really blame them, they're going to stock what sells. Frankly, I can buy everyday clothing cheaper than I can make it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 2:46PM
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Went to Joanne's 11/29/11 to reactivate a member card, bought fabric at 5.99 a yard and there was a sign showing $2 off, but when you read the receipt the regular price shows up at $8.99 a yard. Sort of to the side you will see $3.99 and add the $2 then it becomes $5.99 I had used a 20% discount coupon but none of the figures add up to the supposed discount that "you saved". I always end up asking the cashier, "just where is this discount". Not good.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 9:10AM
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Lucky me! I have a wonderful Joann about 10 minutes from me, and two others within 25! Clean, well stocked, friendly staffs, good prices and coupons! Since I sew a lot - garments, mainly - I guess I am one lucky duck, as I also have a pretty good Hancock Fabrics nearby.

I am thanking my lucky stars!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 8:25PM
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I have always thought they were a very poor store and that their fabric was terrible. If you have actually found a good one then I would say it is the exception, not the rule.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:16PM
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Aw, I miss Hancock Fabrics! The two in my area closed several years ago.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 3:34PM
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The JoAnn's closest to me, (Savannah), is well stocked, clean, has spacious aisles and has a wonderful selection of apparel and home decor fabrics, as well as all the craft items. The women working there are all very personable, helpful and pleasant to do business with. And their restroom is open to the public.

I visit the one where my daughter lives, in Athens, and it's cluttered, dirty, narrow aisles and just minimal selection and very crowded. It's as though it's a totally different company.

So I guess I'd consider myself lucky, because there's also a Hancocks close by, too, with a fairly decent selection and friendly staff.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 7:56PM
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I work at the Viking Store in JoAnn"s. We are in Macon. Our store is clean and well stocked. The help is wonderful. We have public bathrooms, but I do have to say some people are messy and of course we clean the restrooms. I wonder where they get their manners. I love our store.Come and visit us in Macon.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:28AM
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The only thing I can think of is that the stores in smaller areas don't have as many employees. I live in the metro Phoenix area and we have small stores and large stores and there are always plenty of staff in all of them. Several cutting areas in the large stores as well as several cash registers and other support folks. Yes, some of the aisles are narrow but I can get a handicap cart down them and still have a cart going the other way. Only time I have noticed dirty floors is at the end of the day with a big sale going on and it has been a zoo in there. Bathrooms are always available to the public. I have just never had a problem and we don't have a Hancocks Fabric, which was always dirty but we do have some Hobby Lobby stores which are always clean too.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 8:09AM
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One think I recently discovered about Joann's is that if you cut out the 40% off coupon out of the paper and take it in the store, almost anything you might want to purchase with it is "on sale" even if it's $2 off. And the coupon specifically states on regularly priced items. That way, they don't have to sell their better items at 40% off. I think that is just rotten.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 6:40PM
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Joanns is just a terrible place to shop! I don't believe anyone who says that their local store is "well stocked". It is a large retail chain and all the stores are supplied with the same awful junk. They do not have a selection for one store that they do not send to the others stores. They operate on a national level, not a local level. Maybe,just maybe, they might supply a Florida store with more piecing cotton and less fleece, and visa versa for Michigan. But, mostly it is all the same awful junk.
There is a very large one near me, but, you would be hard pressed to find any decent apparel fabric in it. It is stocked to the roof with cheap craft stuff and plastic flowers. Just disgusting!
Most of the stores are walls of fleece and cheap piecing cottons.
About the only fabric that I buy at Joanns is some linen or linen blends.
Given the dearth of good fabric from just about any source anymore, it is almost the only thing that I sew with.
I did buy some flannel back last Fall when they had the sale. It was such cheap stuff the it pilled up with the first washing--cheap, short fiber cottons. I ended up buying some better quality flannel online. That cheap JOanns stuff was woven and filled out with fiber fluff. Really cheap quality! I will never waste my time or money on it again.
They recently advertised "fashion knits". They had about 6 bolts, all ugly. I don't want a dress with images of skulls on it! What?!!! It is almost useless to try to shop at either Joanns or Hancocks.
I just ordered from We will see what if it is any better.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I do have to disagree with mudbubble - the JoAnns in Athens was less than half the size of the one in Savannah, and DID NOT have the same choice of decorator fabrics. I know because I had to go to Savannah because what I needed was not available in Athens. And the crafts department in Savannah was at least twice the size of Athens, with far more selection there, also! So in this instance, I do not believe that apples equal apples when you compare one store to another. Especially when one store is at least three times larger than the other! I have never had any problems with any material that I purchased at Savannah Joanns. I have purchased flannel for crib bedding, duck cloth, fleece, home decor fabrics galore, quilting fabrics and hundreds of notions, and not had a problem with any of them. The flannel I purchased for the twins bedding has been washed at least two dozen times, and looks great!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Mudbubble, I'm not a fan of (too much of a mixed bag on quality, and never amazing QPR).

I love Fabricmart though. I've gotten a few clunkers from them, but at least the clunkers were cheap (like $2 per yard or less cheap, and they usually add an extra foot onto any cut over a yard).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 3:06AM
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Before the take over, I was growing more and more dissatisfied but now won't shop there for political reasons. My daughter serves in a refugee camp and the conglomerate strongly supports the opposition. We boycott all such companies. (

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 6:55PM
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How lovely, mudbubble. Thanks for that. Love being called a liar. Hope you find what you're looking for.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:13PM
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OMG puzzlefan are you really bringing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into this? JAS gets their fabric produced mainly in Asian countries, not sure where the facts are to support your statment.

I looked around the link you posted & still don't see what the tie to JAS is.

Sewing as political terrorism, wow. Maybe we should take this over to Hot Topics, it could be a fun convo. But for here & now, I'm keeping my strong opinions to myself. Sewing is a hobby & the only political bent I could possibly think of related to it is gender bias. All those womyn sewing away madly, some are madder than others though.

Shermann, I wouldn't take any offense from the post, it doesn't seem to be directed at you personally, rather pf has an axe to grind & uses any opportunity however inappropriate to air their complaints.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 11:56AM
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FlamingO in AR

My closest Joann's is in Fayetteville AR, about an hour from my house, so I don't go there very often. I was there a few weeks ago, though and it was clean, spacious, had an enormous variety of everything and I could have spent half of a day in there, but I only had an hour. I browsed all over the whole store and had the best time, shopping their sales, using the coupons, etc. I spent about $20 and saved about $10, which was nice. It was a Friday morning and they weren't terribly busy, which was lucky for me. I'm now on their mailing list and they're sending me coupons and I can't wait to go back. I think I'm a little bored with Hobby Lobby.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I just went to a beautiful new store in Baton Rouge today. I could have spent all day there. I live four hours away, so that's distressing. Next time I'm here I know where I will be headed. There used to be a Joann's 35 minutes from home, but it closed. It wasn't nearly as nice, but I miss it. I was excited to see all the decorator fabrics today as our HL has a pitiful selection.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 1:34AM
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The Joanne's near me, in Staten Island, New York, is awful as well, and though at some level, I guiltily admit it comforts me to hear your stories, I just wish it weren't so since for me it's so conveniently located. The customer service, the staff's disinterest and lack of knowledge about the merchandise, and the mess in the store all make me travel completely out of my way in search of better options. I'm lucky to live in NYC where there are lots and lots of local, family/individually-owned stores to choose from. Still, I wish Joanne's would clean up their act.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Wow! I was unaware that so many of you have had bad experiences at your local (or not so local) JoAnn stores.)
I regularly shop at JoAnns in Racine, about 15 minutes from my home. The store is always well kept, with public access bathrooms which they clean themselves.

There is a wide variety of fabrics from apparel to quilting to appholstery. I do agree with many of you that there is a heck of a lot of fleece, but in our northern climate, it is well used. There is a good amount of batting material, muslin, lots of sewing & quilting tools and books. (Can you tell I'm more into quilting than apparel sewing?)

I've trained myself to look for the better fabric by feel (closer weave & heavier than the cheap stuff.) Yes, they have some cheap calico fabric...just pass it by. I am also on their mailing list and frequently use their coupons. Unlike some others who have posted above, I am usually able to find a fabric or batting or thread or tool that is not on sale in order to use the 40% and 50% coupons. The fliers also offer coupons good for ALL items, including sale and red tag items.

The staff is friendly and knowledgable and very helpful. The only time the store is crowded is during a big sale. Yes, the long lines are tiresome, but worth it if you get a good deal on sale items. You just need to exercise a lot of patience on those sale days....hey...strike up a nice conversation with the people in front of you or behind helps pass the time!

I think the JoAnns in Racine stays on its toes because there is a high-end quilt store a couple of miles away that sells top grade fabric along with sewing machines. I believe the managers at JoAnns will lose many "quilting" customers to the quilting store if they let their service slide.

Oh, and one more thing...the Joann's near me also gives sewing lessons. I've never attended, but it must be a success, because they are always advertising new classes.

Again, I was sad to hear of some of your unpleasant experiences, and consider myself fortunate to have a wonderful JoAnn store and staff near me.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 2:20PM
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I have 2 JoAnn fabric stores near me and have no problem with either one.
I have noticed that the expensive fabric I'm looking for is usually on sale whenever I happen to have a coupon that excludes sale items--But that's the case in other stores these days. (It happens to me at Macy's too).

I guess as far as stock, cleanliness, personnel, etc.--it depends on management.

As I mentioned in the other thread on gripes about JoAnns--I'm just happy to have fabric stores in my area.

And then there's Walmart--The one in my area just brought back fabric and some of the fabric is actually pretty nice.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Our Walmart just brought back fabric, but near as I can tell, the same cheesy, cheap stuff they had before: suitable for Halloween costumes, not much else.

Having worked for chain stores, (So Fro Fabrics, David's Bridal, Macy's) I can tell you the companies absolutely do have different mixes of products to send to different stores.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Whoever has control over these places needs to get their act together. I just spent 1 hr. 45 minutes in our local Joanns just to get a gift card. Everyone there didn't have the slightest idea how to do the process and the store manager would not come out of his "Hiddy Hole" to help. The floor manager double charged my debit card and couldn't cancel that transaction. She locked up the entire system, screwed up the transaction and ended up paying me cash for the 2nd transaction. Then I had to go to my bank and pay for the 2nd transaction.
This place totally sucks!!!!
BTW: This store is in Vancouver, WA.
Someone needs to be fired.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:10PM
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The JoAnn's near me was recently renovated; they had several younger employees. I asked one young male employee where the cheesecloth was. He blinked, and said, "You mean cloth with pictures of cheese on it?"
Haha. I don't think he got much training. I just wish they would train the cutters! I hate getting home with fabric so badly cut I have to cut two inches off before I can start!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 7:49PM
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The Joanns that is closest to me is not a really big store but the ladies that work there are so helpful and nice. On the other hand the huge store in Indianapolis is awful. Crowded, messy and not very organized. They changed it a couple years ago. They used to have 3 cutting areas, now they only have one. The first time I went there after the change I was shocked. You now take a number at the cutting area. There was 30 some people ahead of me. People were just walking out and leaving carts full of fabric sitting. I went back during the week and the same lady was working. I told her of my experience. She told me the new management want them to only spend 4 minutes per customer. They don't want them to leave the cutting table if a customer needs help such as picking the right thread and such. She said it was awful. If you are a new sewer you often need help. How many times have you been there and someone doesn't know if the have the right fabric for the project or how many yards it would take? Wouldn't you think they would want their workers to help customers? Sadly, Joanns is about the only fabric store around. We do have a Hobby Lobby but their fabric is so high priced. While taking a different way home from the hospital while hubby was in I ran across a Hancock Fabric. I am going to check it out soon. Do they have sale flyers that they mail out like Joann does?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:27AM
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