Cornwall’s Fabricland closing

Light spills out of Fabricland into the parking lot of Eastcourt Mall in Cornwall, Ont. on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. The parent company is closing the store at the end of April. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – It’s curtains for an east-end retail store in Cornwall.

Fabricland Distributors in the Eastcourt Mall announced Jan. 30, 2017 its Cornwall location was closing.

The 14,000 square foot store, which employs over 10 full and part time employees, opened in August 2012.

The store at 1380 Second Street East will be closed at the end of April.

Questions started to arise last year on the future of the location, namely through an informal discussion by some city councillors prior to a budget meeting in the fall.

Cornwall Coun. Elaine MacDonald has been a frequent shopper at Fabricland.

“I think it’s so sad. We were in the same place about 10 years ago when Fabricville left. And a lot of us were devastated because it’s so great. I mean there’s Giroux Sewing Center but it’s just nice to have a choice,” MacDonald lamented during an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

MacDonald believes it will leave a gap in the local marketplace.

“Absolutely it does. I’m conscious of fact we have another fabric store in town. But they are so very different that, if either one of them were to leave, it would leave a significant hole in this city’s marketplace, so absolutely, Fabricland will be really missed.”

The councillor said the store had such as great quantity and style from upholstery fabric to drape material.

MacDonald explained that online shopping is taking its toll on a number of local retailers but fabric outlets are something that is a “tactile” experience. Other stores that recently announced closings were Tip Top Tailors and Le Chateau, in part because of a change in shopping habits geared to the internet.

“When you’re shopping for like to walk around, you like to touch the cloths. There’s no experience like a tactile experience of the material itself before you actually shop and that’s something you can’t do when you shop online,” she said.

Signs announcing a store closing sale are taped to the windows of Fabricland in Cornwall, Ont. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. The store will shut its doors for good at the end of April. (Supplied via Newswatch Group)

Asked if the city’s economic development department could have helped the retailer stay in the community. “I think with an organization as big as Fabricland, I don’t know what the municipality can do officially could even address what they use to make their decisions. I’m sure they’ve done market studies. They are actually keeping the store in Brockville open and Brockville is half the population of what Cornwall is,” MacDonald told CNW.

She believes the rent is going up “significantly” as Plaza Retail Real Estate Investment Trust redevelops the 180,000 square foot mall, which may have played a part in Fabricland’s decision to close.

“I think locally what people can do, people who shop there, they let it be known to the store…that you shop there and you will really miss the store. That would probably have maximum impact,” she said.

“I hope they’ll reconsider (a location in Cornwall),” MacDonald said, adding that a clerk at the store told her the best thing for people to do is write to the company in support of a Cornwall location.

MacDonald, who enjoys sewing and has called fabric stores her “second home”, says she will miss the store “terribly.” In the past, prior to Fabricland and Fabricville, MacDonald would travel to Montreal and Ottawa for supplies.

“I’m sorry (Fabricland is leaving),” she said.

Inquiries to the store’s management and head office were not returned at the time this story was published.