Friday, July 23, 2010

Where have all the Fabric Stores gone?

Back in 1981 when my dad, Bob Steinberg, decided to move his 750 sq. ft. store, Stonemountain Fabrics from the cozy town of Pacific Grove, there were so many stores already around Berkeley and San Francisco. I recall people saying that Berkeley did not need another Fabric Store. Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics began as a spunky 1000 sq. ft store near downtown Berkeley. Just down the street from our little start up was Kaufman's FabricLand and the inspiring Poppy Fabrics. Close by were small shops featuring authentic Japanese Fabric and another selling Guatemalan. New York Fabrics was the most amazing family run "chain" of fabric stores ever and they were close by in Emeryville and Oakland. Home Yardage was on Telegraph and many other stores as well. It was a thriving time for our fabric industry. People were sewing garments; kids were being taught in school; fashion fabrics of all types were easily available in every community across North America.

Fast forward to 2010 and we are now living in a new time. What happened?


  1. You just took me down memories' lane! I grew up working at New York Fabrics. And yes, it was an amazing family run business. I still remember the House of Fabrics in Serramonte. Yes, times have definitely changed. Glad to see Stonemountain and Daughters doing well!!!

  2. We have the same situation here in Chicago. I know that you have always offered a wonderfully diverse selection of products, and fantastic customer service, which helps a lot in the long run. The Sussman family appreciates what you have continued to do for the sewing community in Berkley (we have lots of family there!), and we hope you continue to thrive for generations to come!!!!! <3 Hugs!

  3. Sewing has become a lost art I think.

    I love your store so much, that I get a happy feeling every time I step in there! I recently went to your store looking for buttons for a dress, and one of your staff members got in on the fun of matching buttons to the fabric. She found the most perfect match and she was such a delight to work with.
    You have an amazing selection, and a fun cozy atmosphere!
    Go to my blog and see the dress I just finished (with the buttons :) )

  4. Like everyone else I love your store and I am thrilled that you are thriving. I too remember the stores you list like Poppy and new York Fabrics. To that list, add Home Yardage on Geary in San Francisco - I still have a few pieces of the silk I bought there aeons ago.
    What happenned to all of the fabric stores? I my view, it is a reflection of society today. Everything is faster and no one has time to sew - especially with their nose in an iPhone all day. In most families, 2 parents work and sewing is no longer taught in schools. How sad!
    I am still an avid, though less frequent, sewer and have recently been inspired by no less than Project Runway! As you will know, Simplicity has tapped into this phenomenon by introducing Project Runway style patterns. Maybe sewing will come full circle again - I hope so.
    Whatever happens I will keep crossing the Bay to visit your treasure trove of fabrics - your store is like an Aladin's cave to me!