Tuesday, August 02, 2011


In Richmond, we have two Jo-Ann stores at our disposal. There is the original store, #1479 which is 7 miles from my house and the new store, #2141, which is 14 miles in a different county. Here is this weekend's story:

I cut out the dress from Simplicity 2406 and was about to cut out the shorts from Vogue 2833 when I realized that
1) the dress sash was not included in the fabric requirements but separately listed at the bottom and 2) Since I bought the fabric before I narrowed down the three possible shorts patterns I didn't have enough for this pattern's pair.

I set out for the original Jo-Ann in Westland Shopping Center. Of course, I did go during the Columbus Day sale and it was towards the end of the day but I was still shocked that all of the brown heathered suiting was gone. It was around 4:45 and the store would close at 6. On a whim I decided to try to beat the new store's 6 PM closing time. So I got on the road, hoping to arrive at the shop at least 10 minutes before closing, enough time since I knew exactly what I wanted. I made it there at 5:50 only to see the sign outside said that this Jo-Ann store closes at 7 PM on Sundays!!!

They had an entire bolt of the fabric I needed so I got a yard cut. No problem. Then I looked around the store and saw how many ways the newer store surpassed the original.

For example:

  • The sad trimming aisle at the original store is two large aisles at this store;

  • the clearance tables at the new store have actual fabric that was once on the sale floor while the clearance at the original is full of mystery fiber fabrics that I never saw on the sales floor before.

  • The original store never got that gorgeous silk/cotton voile print that Patty from Snug Bug used in her maxi dress. Yes, that gorgeous fabric came from Jo-Ann?!

  • They already had the new Simplicity pattern collection (not on the web site yet) in the drawers and the books on the table.

In general, the new store just has more sewing stuff than the other store. Even though half the store is still crafts-related you never get the feeling that the fabric side is only for quilt making and making mysterious fleece objects. There are far more garment fabrics represented.

Oh, and the best thing; they had two copies of Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic 2, the English version for only $25.00! No special ordering required.

There is no contest, the Midlothian Turnpike Jo-Ann store #2141 is my now my preferred store and is totally worth driving twice the distance to get there.


Diane Drexel said...

Lancaster, PA also has two Jo-Ann Fabric stores. A bright, cheerful, organized one and its evil clone near the mall which has cramped aisles, usually looks like a cyclone hit it and (worst of all) crabby employees!

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

We don't have Jo-Ann's (or an equivalent chain of stores) over here in the UK - but I know how you feel I have 2 B&Q stores (a bit like 'Home Depot') one is horrid and the other is smart, tidy & well organised - guess which one I prefer to shop at ;) LOL!

I hope your new-fav store keeps up the higher standards and doesn't eventually slip up into bad habits like it's older cousin nearer to you

AnnetteAK said...

You are so lucky to have more than 1 fabric store close by. Yes we have 1 Jo-Ann's; otherwise it is a 1.5 hour plane ride away to a real fabric store.
Yeah for the internet.

Debbie Cook said...

OMG - I was just ON Midlothian Turnpike this past Saturday (up from Florida). But I was with my son so he probably wouldn't have been thrilled with the idea of a Joann's stop anyway. lol

Kyle said...

wow, how do you know the store numbers?? sounds worth it to go the distance@!

Anna Christina said...

We also have the same situation near my home in Michigan. The first store is only 3 miles away, but sadly, a frustrating disapointment. I always make the trip to the farther store in order to find what I need.

lsaspacey said...

Kyle, For the store numbers, I checked the website's store finder tool. I really wanted to get this post/review out for the local sewers that might read my blog and wanted to give them as much information to find the new store. It's pretty far out there.

Anonymous said...

@ Diane,

My experience with the Lancaster JoAnn's by the mall is a bit different. I have been going there for years. The manager in particular is very friendly and cheerful. It IS a smaller space but I don't think that can be helped. I have encountered crabby employees at both but more frequently at the Willow Street JoAnn's (I live in WS at them moment so frequent that store regularly). But to be honest I am noticing crabby employees a lot of places these days which is unfortunate.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I have been to two Joanns in my area. One is larger, but has no better stock. Just a bigger selection of silky polyesters. Jealous that you have a nice one!

Jo said...

I'm dealing with some Jo-Ann Fabrics issues myself. I wish there was a better Jo-Ann than the one I've got. What I really wish is there were another fabric to that offered something other than fleece and quilter's cotton for people who really sew.

Audrey said...

I am mid way between both stores. I can hop on RT 288 and be at the new store in 15 minutes, and the other area Hancock store is just a mile down Midlothian Turnpike from the new JoAnne's. It is bigger and has different fabric from the Broad St. Hancock store because it is in a different sales region. I have it from a very good authority, a friend working at the new JoAnne's store, that there are plans to set up a big new JoAnnes further out on Broad St. in the near future. Probably in the Short Pump area which I absolutely hate to drive in.

lsaspacey said...


I was hoping you would chime in!

Different sales region must also mean "better" sales region. I don't like going to Short Pump either but can you imagine what kind of fabulous stock that store will have? Mmmmm...

Also, doesn't it seem like the new store has less novelty fabrics?