JoAnn’s Revisited

Way back in March of 2011,

I wrote what has turned out to be a VERY popular post, SO popular in fact that not only did it receive the most views AND the most comments in 2011, it has continued to get the most views and the most comments every year since!!!  And not only that! The comments that we receive on this post are passionate, and surprisingly LENGTHY! Some of these comments in fact have been 4-5 paragraphs long. WOW!  It’s like the post that just won’t die!!! Evidently the subject matter of this post STILL strikes a sensitive nerve with our readers, and when I reveal the title of this ultra-popular post, I’d be surprised if you didn’t immediately agree! This post was all about….

this is the storefront for my local JoAnn's
this is the storefront for my local JoAnn’s

The Problem with JoAnn’s!

If you haven’t read the original post rant yet, I suggest you do that (by clicking the link above), but it was precipitated by an extremely bad experience at JoAnn’s (which was preceded by MANY bad experiences at JoAnn’s). It was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”. I called JoAnn’s in Ohio… and I wrote them a scathing letter detailing my many complaints. Then as promised I shared my experience and that letter on my Blog and with my FaceBook friends.

Did JoAnn’s respond? I guess you could say they did. They wrote back saying that due to a recent change in ownership (JoAnn’s was bought out by Leonard Green & Partners in Dec 2010), I could look forward to BIG improvements at JoAnn’s. They promised that stores would soon be modernized and better stocked, employees would be better trained and compensated etc. etc.

So did JoAnn’s institute these changes as promised? I can say that in mid 2011 there were some minor improvements made to the store nearest me (in Winston-Salem, NC). They installed a ticket system at the cutting table so that now you can at least walk around a little bit while you’re waiting 20-30 minutes or so to get your fabric cut. The lighting is a little better. They added a new cash register and a roped, winding checkout line (ala Disneyworld), but it really didn’t seem to speed up the checkout process, it only gave us a HUGE selection of candy to look at (which I’m sure young moms love) while we wait, and wait and wait, and by the way, I’ve only seen both cash registers operating once in 3 years regardless of how many people are in the store. So, no…based on my observations anyway, conditions really haven’t improved much at JoAnn’s. And based on the continued and consistent “action” this post gets and the passionate complaints of our readers, I can only surmise that the less than acceptable condition of my local JoAnn’s is not an isolated problem.

This is the mess on the floor that greeted me this morning. Who knows what was spilled here, but don’t you think it should’ve gotten cleaned up last night? GROSS!

So what’s the answer?

Well to be honest, there doesn’t appear to be an easy (or a cheap) solution to the problem of JoAnn’s because here’s the deal. Barring another buyout (by a company with more integrity), the owners seem to be very comfortable with the way things are right now. They’re making money and they have no real incentive to improve conditions because they’ve basically run all their competition out of business. Oh sure there’s a couple of specialty quilt stores in the area (and I wholeheartedly support them), but they don’t carry zippers and most other notions, nor do they carry clothing, home dec or crafting fabrics. I don’t know how  it went down in your town, but we used to have several really nice fabric stores in Winston-Salem. There was a Cloth World and a couple of family run stores. But in swooped JoAnn’s with their coupons and teaser sales. They bought out Cloth World and the Mom & Pop stores just couldn’t compete, and if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us had a hand in their demise. We responded to the siren call of lower prices, but once Mom & Pop closed, the owners of JoAnn’s knew they could they had us over a barrel. And you know what… they DID and they still DO!!! So now, we really only have two choices.

We can “put up or shut up”!

OK that’s blunt, but its true. JoAnn’s is currently being run by a group of folks who seem to only care about their bottom line. That means that its unlikely that anything is going to get their attention… except something that affects their bottom line. In other words, we need to either stop shopping at JoAnn’s, or quit complaining about JoAnn’s. Because here’s the deal, there may not be many other brick & mortar options for you in your own town, but the Internet makes almost any store a local store now… so if we’re REALLY serious about affecting a change…

Here’s a THREE-fold solution to the Problem with JoAnn’s

Here’s a “creative” fabric display, don’t ya think? Does it leave you inspired or disgusted? 🙁

1) As much as is possible, STOP shopping at JoAnn’s:  I am SERIOUS! I get all my supplies elsewhere and the only reason I darken the door of JoAnn’s now is for an emergency spool of thread, (or to take these pictures this morning). Seriously, I’ve only bought exactly 3 spools of thread there in the last 12 months and yes, I just checked. Now I know it might not be realistic for everyone to stop shopping altogether at JoAnn’s, but for those of you who can, I encourage you to do so.

2) Make a commitment to at least REDUCE the amount of stuff that you buy from JoAnn’s: It may be more reasonable to commit to shopping somewhere other than JoAnn’s for at least a portion of your sewing supplies. For example, if there’s a nice family-owned quilt store in your area, maybe buy as much as you can from them, then augment the rest with stuff you can buy cheaply from JoAnn’s. Is it going to cost you more to do this? Probably, but look at it this way… If we all make a change… if ALL OF US buy less from JoAnn’s… even 25-30% less, then those tightwads up in Ohio might just pay attention to us, because right now let’s face it, they’re thumbing their noses at us!

joanns43) Investigate alternative sources for your sewing supply needs:  Since there are no independent sewing supply stores in my area, I do almost all of my shopping online now. Does it take more advance planning to buy online? Yes in fact it does. You don’t get the satisfaction of coming home with a bag full of stuff for a new project and starting to work on it immediately. For me, I plan about 4-5 projects ahead at all times and I generally get my fabrics from one source, and specialty supplies from 2-3 other places. I’m used to doing it this way now and it’s no big deal. In the event a new fabric store comes to my area, I will make every effort to shop there, even if it costs me more. That’s how strongly I feel about this. So, if you’re like me and do not live within a reasonable driving distance of a privately run sewing store, I invite you to take advantage of some of the following online resources.

For Fabric   — eQuilter.Com —-Hancock’s of Paducah  —- Material Girl

For Notions—Nancy’s Notions Home SewAnnie’s —-HobbyLobby

Just imagine what might happen if ALL of us take action of some sort. What if JoAnn’s suddenly realized that they’re 1st quarter sales figures for 2015 were DOWN 35%? I think they might just start paying attention to our complaints. Together we can be a powerful force for change in our industry, but we’re going to have to be willing to put our money where our mouths are. What about you? Are you ready to do that?  🙂

And now… it’s YOUR turn!

Do you have other ideas about how to turn the heads of the folks pulling the strings at JoAnn’s? Because I welcome any and all suggestions to “the JoAnn’s problem” and I’m looking forward to a lively discussion about this dilemma, so please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the space provided below.


And please feel free to forward this post to anyone you think has a stake in the JoAnn’s problem. The more folks who see this post and respond to it, the greater the chance that we can affect the change we’re after!


101 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I TOTALLY agree about Jo-ann’s but honestly had not thought about shopping online. I try to buy what I can at my favorite quilt shop even though it is about 15 miles away. Thank you, thank you for your list of online stores! I am going to try to save their information for future use.

  2. I only use JoAnns for emergency supplies and have been shopping online for many years. I’ve found that most of JoAnn’s fabric is lower quality and it’s difficult to find what you need as the store is so often a mess.
    I the staff there are usually friendly & helpful and try to keep things neat, butit seems to be a losing battle.

  3. Being on disability, I have to make money stretch as much as possible which unfortunately translates into using Joanne’s from time to time. I make about 2 visits a year and soak them with every coupon I can use. We have the same issues here with untidy stores and overworked employees and a few nasty attitudes. Since I limit visits there it is not as hard to deal with like it would be if it were the only option.
    That being said, I do a lot of online shopping, having found a couple of places I can afford to shop at. And for instant gratification, I do have a local fabric shop that has been around for about 40 years. They carry all the designer stuff, so if I see it online and have to have it, I know I can go there. They have sales from time to time, but not like the big box store. Only problem with them is they too can have an attitude. One lady made me feel like I was not good enough to wait on when I asked a question about a price – told me it was there and I would have to find it. Needless to say, I left. So attitudes carry through many of the stores, not just Joannes.

  4. Wow. I am shocked that it is so bad by you as the three JoAnn’s I’ve been to in my area (Central/South Jersery & PA) are in good shape, the staff are very nice, and the stores are clean. The aisles are sometimes small, but other than that, I have no complaints. the ticketing system has really helped smooth cutting times and they always have at least two people at the cutting counter (the big one has 4 during busy days).

    I think the slowness of the cutting counter lines is because a lot people, myself included, buy a lot of fabric at one time and it takes time to unwrap, cut, then fold the cut fabric, rewrap, scan the code, enter the yardage, etc. For checkout, yes, there is candy there and it is annoying, but anytime the line gets long, they call people to open more registers.

    Could it be a case of different managers run their stores differently?

    • I definitely think there is a huge discrepancy between stores. But let me tell you, the one near me is ghetto-bad and this is a corporate problem. I’ve complained directly to the corporate offices and nothing seems to help.
      I’m glad your JoAnn’s is great, but be thankful because many are still in the pits! 🙂

    • Chris in South Jersey

      Dawn, which Jo-Anns do you visit? I’m between the Deptford and Mays Landing stores.

  5. Sewing buddies,
    First, let me say I totally agree with all the comments but I have a NEW view on Joanns. I thought I could help things there. I was hired as a seasonal employee. Well, I lasted two weeks. First, there was 15 minutes training on the register and cutting table. The hand held devices are limited and do not work half the time. That explains the long time at the cutting table. That big pile of cheap, junk fabric in the picture is known as the red tag table. Every night, some employee has to straighten it up. The whole store is “cleaned” by the employees before they can go home. Even the bathroom!! That explains why the bathrooms look like they do. I was going home at 11:30 at night. This was too much for me at 63 years old. I told the manager I needed to change my schedule–no Sundays and nothing after 6 pm. She just told me she didn’t have a job for me. Then I said “goodbye”. I haven’t been back in there since I left. I have started to order online. My last order is still in the system due to the back log from Black Friday. Online doesn’t seem to be any better. Sometimes I order from Nancy’s notions when I can get free shipping.
    I feel sorry for the employees–been there and done that! They aren’t happy but most of them need a job of any kind. Thanks for letting me tell my story!

    • I agree Valerie.. From the comments I have received from JoAnn’s, they are treated pretty badly. All the corporate headquarters cares about is the bottomline. The employees are paid poorly without consideration for experience in sewing and they are paid shrewdly so that they can avoid having to pay overtime. They are understaffed, so that they are overworked and tired from runniing back and forth between cutting and checking out and that most certainly explains the bad attitudes. For MANY locations, it just isnt a fun place to shop OR work! So sad.

  6. We have a JoAnne’s in Riverdale, NJ that opened about a year ago. We used to have Rag Shop but that went out of business. It has been hard to find a shop that carries fabric and sewing notions around here. I started quilting about a year ago, and discovered the local quilt shop in my town. I love the one on one help I get there .The Joanne’s here is big, cold, and understaffed. My 2 friends work for them, and one thought she would be teaching jewelry classes, but the management has yet to understand the process.They throw certain things at her and ask her to make up something using them. I guess it is what they have a lot of in stock that they want to move. It has little to do with artistically making something pleasing. There is also no way to advertise for people to take a class. I go to Joanne’s a lot because I find them less expensive than the local quilt shop. But I do not go there for much advice. I met their quilting lady and she knew less than me, who has learned some basic quoting through watching Craftsy classes and taking a few on line courses. I find their fabric of lower quality than the quilt shop (thread count). The store here is clean and put together well, but they do not ever seem to have enough people to help at the cutting tables. I have seen their managers get pulled in all directions. It sounds like upper management does to care much about employees or customers. They view it as a business. As long as they do that, they will not be as successful as they could be. I would rather go to the local quilt shop and get personal conversations going with ladies who hang out there like it’s their second home. That’s the kind of place to go to for customer service.

  7. Wow. I’m lucky. Our Joann’s in Snellville,Ga is amazing. It’s clean, neat, organized. Granted, most of the fabric is low quality, but their 50% off coupons are great when i’m buying batting by the yard. Thread sales are also great if you have an embroidery machine or serger. I generally don’t ask questions since I know what i’m going in there for but I’ve never had a problem with customer service.

  8. My problem with Joann’s is they now have dishes, purses, jewelry, etc that takes up the room they could use for craft stuff. I thought Joann’s was a craft store, not a high priced Walmart. The yarn selection has shrunk along with the fabric selection. They are no longer a craft store. I don’t know what they are trying to do. The employees are very friendly and helpful but the products are no longer what they used to be. Unfortunately other than Hobby Lobby Joann’s is the only place to get craft stuff locally.

  9. i have to say we have a wonderful and very clean Joanns in Kennewick, WA. Everyone I have ever spoke with was very informative and helpful. The store is clean and set up well. I’ve shopped online with them and have never ever had a problem. So I have nothing bad to say about our Joanns store here.

  10. I found the comment about “I can buy the shirt cheaper at Target” interesting. We need to wake up in this country and realize what has happened to the clothing industry. I realize that some are on a strict budget, but if the shirt is on sale for $2.50, then the only way a profit is being made is by the use of slave labor. If you cannot make the shirt yourself for anywhere near that price then something is wrong. In the pursuit of profit, and cheap, we are creating an underclass, and that is a dangerous thing. Joann’s is a symptom. I am looking forward to moving back to the NW so I can make fabric buying trips to Portland. Although, I will admit Austin has some nice independent fabric stores when I’ve made that trip.

  11. I live in Kernersville, N.C. and I have seen the exact mess in the pictures you have shown. But because of where I live I have a choice of JoAnn’s stores. When I can, I choose to go to the Greensboro store, which would be further for you. I think the problem lies with the manager of the particular store. The Greensboro store is much neater, much more friendly and efficient personel, and whenever I can I go there . The distance is a smidgen further for me, so be it. Several of my friends agree with me about the comparison of the two stores. Thank you for your comments.

    • Good to have another pair of eyes confirming the deplorable condition of this establishment. I’m glad to hear the Greensboro is a little better!

  12. I rarely buy anything at Joann’s any more. I only buy if I have a coupon, but they don’t usually have what I need/want. I don’t save much on fabric because most is not quality cotton for quilting (although they claim it is) and what fabric is of good quality is priced as high as it is in the local quilt shops.

    Hobby Lobby also has coupons and I shop there occasionally, but their fabric line and quilting notions are limited. I prefer Hobby Lobby over Joann’s. Both Joann’s and Hobby Lobby are often understaffed, but Hobby Lobby deals with it better. Employees are about the same in both places. Some are nice and helpful and others are not. But you know what? The same is true of those that work in the local quilt/fabric stores.

    I buy 98% of my fabric from my local quilt shops or other quilt shops I visit when traveling. I have purchased online a few times, but colors are often different that what my monitor shows, I can’t check and feel the fabrics like I can locally, and a couple of times my order has arrived and it has the wrong fabrics than what I ordered. The invoice was correct, but the fabric didn’t match the invoice. One online store told me to keep the wrong fabric for the inconvenience and sent me the correct fabric. The other asked me to send the wrong fabric back (at my expense) and they would ship the correct fabric. Of course I won’t shop there again either.

    • Thanks for commenting Susan and you’re doing the best you can to encourage an alternative to the problem of JoAnns! I’m clapping for you! 🙂

  13. If there is a notion I want and have to get it at Joanne’s or order on line, I ask my LQS if they can order it. Most of the time they can and will give me a discount. So I am still supporting my LQS.

  14. I have a love-hate relationship with JoAnns for sure.
    The coupons are insane. I’d prefer it if they would just lower the prices across the board and do away with them. The fine print is ridiculous…sometimes they’re good only on ‘regular priced items’, sometimes it’s on anything, sometimes you can combine them, sometimes you can’t. And sometimes I think it depends on the mood of the cashier!

    • I agree totally… and sometimes they are only good on a Wednesday, and sometimes only for the weekend, and sometimes only only a friday after 12 noon if you’re wearing yellow…. j/kidding about that last one! (It’s almost that bad though!)

  15. If I am in my right mind ,I will never darken the door of a JoAnn’s again!
    I live in the Hampton Roads area of Virigina and have 1local quilt shop that is about 15 miles from me. I shop there some but they are strictly quilting fabrics.
    Recently on the way home from Virigina Beach, I had time to stop at the JoAnn’s in Chesapeake. Had coupons sent in mail and needed some interfacing, thread etc. When I walked in the store I was bombarded by lots of tacky Christmas decorations spilling into the pathway. Aisles were crowded and junky. Place was dirty etc. I turned around and left and do not plan to go back. Decided I would rather wait for items to come in mail than shop in all the filth and mess!

  16. I am extremely irritated with Joanne’s as a whole. Why do I go back? Because there aren’t a whole lot of craft stores to choose from, that’s why. I can’t buy things for my Cricut at Hancock. I don’t really buy fabric at Hobby Lobby and I’m not big on buying fabric from Wal-mart, either. So what do you do? I’ve had more luck finding things in my local quilt shop. Sure, it costs more, but considering that my nearest Joanne’s is a little over an hour away, it doesn’t really cost me that much extra and I support a local business. Somebody made a comment about buying a shirt on sale from Target for $2.50 and not being able to make something yourself for less than $20. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are no inexpensive hobbies anymore. All companies have figured out that people will spend money on their hobbies–some of these things used to be survival skills (like hunting, fishing…or dare I say sewing?), not anymore. The times have changed– and it’s been that way for a while now. I gave up sewing garments for that reason–I’ve gotten back into it because I’m tired of poorly fitting clothing!

    • I’m like you…. I totally get it. I’d love to have a great alternative for finding fabric locally, but unless as many of us that can get out there and support them, we will continue to have crummy options like my local JoAnns!

  17. I live in Lincoln, NE the Joann’s here is wonderful the store is a large one and it is clean and well lit the employes are very helpful. If the checkout lane gets long they call in another cashier. The cutting table is slow but my number always seem behind the person that wants twenty different cuts when I only want one. I do wish they had a better selection of quilitng fabric.

  18. I agree with you. I occasionally go to 2 or 3 different Joann’s in Houston. They’re all a mess, but I can’t find fabric for garment sewing like denim, twill, etc on line. Granted, Joann’s selections are pretty pitiful, but at least they have some. Their quilting fabric is poor quality – very thin. I really wish we could have the old Cloth Worlds that were around when I was in high school, or the privately owned stores with a wide variety of GOOD fabric of all types.

  19. I love online ordering! I rarely shop in JoAnn’s. The store closest to me in Tucson is fairly new and moved to a much larger location. It is a clean store but the employees don’t seem to know much about fabric at least not the one’s I’ve encountered. I don’t think they carry fabrics as nice as they used to and I absolutely HATE all the crafty junk they now carry! I do most of my local fabric shopping when I need something fast at Hancock’s and I won’t darken the door of Hobby Lobby for obvious reasons that I won’t go into here.

    The $2.50 shirt example is a false savings in my eyes. Most store bought clothes, no matter the price, are made from inferior fabrics with the cheap labor mentioned above, they do not last (or even fit well!) That $2.50 shirt will need to be replaced multiple times resulting in an eventual cost far greater than the $20 – $30 shirt you make yourself from quality fabric.

    • I totally agree with Linda. The JoAnns near me in central Virginia are full of low quality junky ‘craft’ supplies, and a limited amount of fabric. And cheap clothing is not cheap–I can sew better fitting, better quality clothing that lasts far longer than mass produced clothing from Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, etc. There are excellent online fabric resources such as fabricmartfabrics and Equilter that carry far better fabric at reasonable prices. We need to support local and independent online fabric shops, or they won’t be there for us anymore.

  20. Dirty store, lousy service, high prices for second rate fabric, coupons with so many exclusions as to be worthless. Needless to say my trips to Joann’s are few and far between. Now our local one has the slowest least able cashier on the register. The lines are long even when the number of people shopping are minimal.
    If the corporate weenies don’t help get the local stores back on track, they will be seeing more shoppers go elsewhere

  21. I am really sorry to hear about how badly Joann’s Corporate structure treats their own employees. I guess they feel employees are as expendable as the customers are. All that stuff they peel out about the Affordable Care Act is BS. It has nothing to do with that and all to do with Corporate Greed. The Joann stores in my area (Midwest) were replaced with newer, larger, brighter, cleaner facilities in the last five years, although the stocking leaves something wanting. I never buy fabric or thread there, mostly notions, batting and various other supplies, usually with my coupons in hand. I don’t shop at Michaels or Hobby Lobby anymore for other reasons, but I do live in an area with some good quilt shops, yarn shops and locally owned art supply stores where the majority of my quilt-craft discretionary dollars go. I would rather spend a little more and support my local community, even though that means I buy fewer items.

  22. I as well do as little shopping at Joann’s as possible.
    I shop almost entirely online.
    The following stores are filthy and provide poor customer support. The fabrics are also filthy. I have found bugs in the folds and the selections are poor. The home decor items are the only reasons these stores stay in business. Remember ladies you can find the same stuff at other stores so don’t be drawn in by the coupons.
    The stores I have found this is:

    Hopefully our concerns will make a difference but corporate America can care less.
    Thank you Studio Kat for starting this protest.

    • I hope so too, but if experience has taught me anything, its that very little will get their attention unless it first effects their bottom line. 🙁

  23. The name of the store is Joann Fabric but fabric is second to all of the craft items. My local store is clean and organized and the staff is friendly and helpful. My issue with Joanns is the fabric or lack of it and the quality of the fabric. Recently the store layout was flipped and there is less fabric. Fabrics I used to buy are no longer available or the quality is lacking. Fabric is in store’s name!

  24. I decided a long time ago that if I couldn’t “vote” with my pocketbook, I should shut the heck up. Joann’s was one of the first shops I deliberately refused to shop at afterwards. Every couple of years I stop in at the local Joann’s here in Winston Salem, NC to see if anything has improved. As of November 2014, things are even worse as far as I can tell. They do not deserve and will not receive my money. Sorry.

  25. Several years ago, they closed the Joann’s in Conroe, Texas. It was an okay store. Staff was knowledgeable and friendly. It was reasonably clean and stocked. Then one day poof it was gone. The next closest location is or was near The Woodlands, Texas. Much bigger store, but it always looked like a bomb went off in there. Staff wasn’t as friendly nor knowledgeable. I think the only reason that one stayed open was that it is across the highway from the mall. I rarely go that direction, and it is just not worth a special trip. Hobby Lobby is in the shopping center the Joann’s I liked was and Hancock’s is across the highway from that and so is Walmart (who brought back bolt fabric).
    The shopping center that Joann’s was in is busier now that it has a Carl’s Jr and a Sewing Machine Warehouse.
    Don’t worry about people who sew in Conroe, Corporate Office of Joann’s, we’ve moved on.

  26. Gostei do seu artigo…um absurdo a maneira como as peças de tecidos estão expostas…..falta de respeito para com o consumidor…Parem de comprar lá….

  27. May I take this one step further? Up until 8/31, I owned a quilt shop that I had to close after 8 years due to a serious downturn in business. I cannot tell you how many times people would come into my shop for help with their projects because the 17 year old behind the counter at Jo-Ann’s stared at them like they had three heads when asked for help. These ladies had the gall to come into my shop for advice after spending their money at Jo-Ann. I would smile and help them every time thinking I’d crack that nut and earn a new customer. Wrong! There are many people who are cheap, cheap, cheap, and they will never be concerned with anything else but the bottom line, no matter how crappy the Jo-Ann’s looks or how terrible the service. I’ll take 4 yards of quilt shop fabric over 10 yards of their stuff any day.

    • Thanks for commenting Romona and its great to hear the perspective of a independant store owner. I agree… JoAnn’s could do WAY better if they were interested in doing so,,,, but corporate certainly doesnt seem interested in that.

  28. I’ve tried to like Joann’s—really—because they’re often the only game in town. But the filthy stores, poor quality goods, and staff who know nothing about sewing have convinced me that it’s a losing battle. I wrote several letters to the corporate office when I got tired of always having to buy additional yardage to compensate for the trapezoid shape the fabric seemed to be cut (which meant that when I straightened the fabric, I never had enough). No change. I’ve moved on.

    • In the long run,,, if more of moved on, we might actually get the attention of the corporate heads at JoAnn’s, so I applaud your decision.

  29. Steubenville, Ohio the worst JoAnn’s! Only 2 people work a shift. Don’t be in a hurry when you shop there. That is if you can find anything. Best JoAnn’s – Bridgeville PA well stocked store lots of employees to help you find what you need.

    I heard from a former manager that JoAnns was bought out. That’s why the stores have gone downhill.

    • Sorry to hear about your experience at JoAnn’s. and you know what? I was actually told that the buyout would IMPROVE JoAnn;s nationwide…i didnt believe it at the time, and nothing I’ve seen convinces me otherwise!

  30. My local Joann’s has some very helpful staff and I thank them regularly for their help when I visit. On the other hand the store is under-staffed, so they are always busy, and I only buy fabric there when I want to make something cheap like costumes. I have to drive much further for high quality fabric but I do. For the most part I go there with coupons in hand to get notions, patterns and other things that they discount. It’s a shame that we don’t seem to be able to keep decent stores in business.

  31. I stopped using Joanne’s fabrics years ago. They do not have quality fabric for quilts. Just because it says “quilt fabric” doesn’t make it so. I didn’t realize this until I found a “real” fabric store catering to quilters. I only go to Joannes for Guitermann thread and Quilting tools because there is always a coupon available or they are on sale. Books and other quilting materials I go to the local quilt shop. More money stays in the community when you use a local shop than a chain store.

  32. Chambersburg PA was a dump but got a makeover ! Employees trying hard to keep it Pleasent and neat.
    Frederick MD and Columbia MD are nice full service stores. Other local locations not so nice.

  33. I didn’t used to be a JoAnn’s hater. In the 80’s I worked there. You had to pass a fabric/sewing knowledge test before being hired. Corporate had strict rules on “housekeeping”…draping of bolts, how the rounds (tables) looked, and fabric was not stacked to the ceiling where no one can reach it. Now it is a dump. Corporate must have gone to sleep. And it’s true, most of the employees don’t know anything about sewing. Also yes, too many crafts. Let’s get back to the FABRIC store. I’m in NW PA and I only go in our store if it is a necessity. Even Walmart has fabric that is nicer than a lot of JoAnns. That said, I was recently in a superstore in Buffalo NY, and it appeared neat and clean with a lot of choices. A little low on personnel but not bad.

  34. Seriously??? All this venom for a retail store?
    Here in Madison, WI we are very lucky to have two JoAnn Fabrics stores in addition to Hancock Fabrics, many lovely quilt shops and even sewing machine stores that offer fabric and notions for sale. I also live about 35 miles from Nancy’s Notions Retail Store home of the wonderful “Sewing With Nancy” program master instructor Nancy Zieman. So I have lots of choices for shopping.
    But I shop at Jo Ann Fabrics a great deal and have never had any problems with rude staff members, nor do I feel disrespected by the corporation.
    The stores are always busy and I think the take-a-number, and check-out process are efficient ways to handle the large numbers of shoppers they have in the store. BTW, if I know I will have fabric to cut I pick up a number on my way and can shop while I wait. If they call it and I’m not ready yet I just get another one.
    Would you really want to stand in line with 2-3 registers only to be behind someone with a lot to buy and watch while shoppers pass you by at the other register?
    I don’t expect the retail help to advise me on my purchases. I think they should know where to find items in the store or if they have those items at all but I wouldn’t expect one of them to explain a pattern to me or describe a technique in sewing. That can be found in classes or videos or google searches. JoAnn Fabrics sponsors Craftsy courses on the internet and there is a wealth of information on blogs and Pinterest.
    I guess I am very surprised by the people who take this so personally and feel so hateful toward the store. It is what it is. A retail store in many locations with huge fabric selections, an array of different sewing and craft supplies available offered at big discounts. Which one of these aspects of the store do you want to give up?

    • Well Lynn— All i can say to comments such as this is that Yes,,, you ARE indeed lucky, but also a bit naive if you think all JoAnn’s are like the one near you. I wouldn’t be so hasty to criticize what you havent experienced, because I can assure, my Joann’s…. is NOTHING like yours.

  35. I am working at Joann’s for Xmas. I am learning that this is a well kept store. Everyone I work with is friendly and knowledgable. I am scheduled 4 to eight and hires for that, by my choice of hours. I am what, I call a grunt My job is putting away and organizing merchandize. I also place new merchandise after the set up is done. I am not cutting table or register trained, but kept busy. We try real hard to keep it clean and neat.
    If corperation had their way it would be minimum wage. The store manager said no, so we get slightly better/ Also, the stores are broken down into districts, so I am sure that makes a difference.
    The junk has a large mark up, so there’s plenty, hence, they can mark it down.
    Recently, it was made over, actually a couple of years ago. It is now much larger. They have been doing them over slowly.
    All in all, I wasn’t a fan, now I am more so. I also get a 20 percent discount. They have special times, when employees get 30 percent off. The discount is even on sale items. I can also take classes for free.
    So come to tax free Concord New Hampshire.

  36. Also, we have register lines, one by one, so the next person is checked out, by the next associate that is ready. Kind of like the big bookstores.

    • Well it certainly seems like the JoAnn’s you work at is one of the exceptions, but please know that as good as your JoAnn’s seems, there are MULTITUDES of JoAnn’s that are filthy, totally unorganized excuses for retail stores. The BIG problem is that the corporate headquarters of JoAnn’s doesnt seem to give a flip about it! 🙁

  37. I have seen the “modernization” of JoAnn’s, but it didn’t help any thing. I still waited for 40 minutes to get batting cut. My husband and I both helped the clerk measure and cut the batting. I stood in line “looking at candy” and then rushed through by the cashier. I don’t see any real improvement. I have only shopped there once in the last three years. I have bought fabric online and in quilt shops in a couple of states when I visit, but not at JoAnn’s I get fabric, thread and zippers online. JoAnn’s could do so much better if they tried. They don’t get my business no matter what. I really like to touch fabric. I have given up on that. Thanks for a place to vent. Now if they only read and change. LOL

    • Youre certainly doing your part to cut into their bottom line Diana, which is the only as pect of this business they seem to care about.
      Thanks for commenting!

  38. I live in Columbus, OH. We have 4 JoAnn’s SuperStores within a 10-15 mile radius of one another. All of them, save for one, are just as you’ve described: dirty, poorly staffed & managed, ridiculously long lines at the cutting counter and checkout. I worked at one of the stores about 10 years ago, and it was a completely different environment. I’ve watched a marked decline in quality and customer service in the past decade.

    I’ve all but eliminated shopping there. I do so only when I really need something I cannot wait to order online, or if it’s something I need to see/touch in person (like yarn). I will also buy commercial patterns there, too. Even at that, I don’t ever buy anything unless it’s on sale or I have a coupon. Even with coupons/sale prices, things are still way overpriced.

    I’m a professional seamstress, so I spend thousands of dollars a year on supplies. JoAnn’s used to get an enormous portion of that. Now, I spend only a few hundred dollars annually shopping there. If that.

    • Thanks for commenting Shannon. There really doesnt seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which JoAnn;s are good and which are horrid. But you are doing the best possible thing to register your disdain for this type of service!

  39. If you want to drive a little farther south, the Mooresville, NC Joann’s has always been nice and neat when I’ve been in there. I don’t buy a lot in there, but it is way better than the Hancock’s closer to my house. The local Hancock’s is horrible, super messy, junky items for sale, no one at the checkout, 2 employees running the entire store, etc. I do feel sorry for the employees. Thank goodness for the few local quilt shops we do have.

    • Thanks Ginger— but like I said, right now i am SO fed up with JoAnn;s that I’m taking the only course of action that I feel I can… I’m taking my business which is substantial, elsewhere. Any business i give to the Mooresville store just helps the same corporate folks who are turning a bling eye to the overall problem, and quite honestly, I just don’t want to be a part of that. Thanks ever so much for the suggestion, but I think I’ll stay the course i’m on. 🙂

  40. I agree with you 100%. I make and sell one of a kind purses to sell and support the small charity I run. (We make quilts for the local hospital. Over 200 so far this year.) I do almost all my shopping online, especially for purse fittings and zippers which can run into serious money if you sew in bulk. Also, I can find quilt shop cotton collections at a significant savings. EBay is very good but another great resource is http://www.quilt fabric Excellent prices especially on batiks. Brubakers is great also. My friends and I do “road trips” and have a regular circuit to check out fabrics. Great way to stay in touch with friends. But even by myself, I’d rather drive 30 miles to Winchester VA (The Scrappy Apple) than the 10 miles to the JoAnn in Leesburg. I want value for the fabric $ I spend.

  41. I’ve just returned to Albuquerque after a 15 year absence. My favorite JoAnn is now a dark, dingy, messy place. I used to dislike shopping in Hancock’s but it and local quilts shops have now become my go to stores.

  42. There is a fourth thing. We need to TELL them why we’re not shopping there. Everytime you buy online, scan the receipt (you can block out private info, but be sure to include the online store name and the total), and send it to them. Make them WANT your purchases at their store, not elsewhere.

    • you kn ow what Linda… that is a TERRIFIC idea!
      I think I’ll save them in an envelope and ship them to them quarterly!

  43. Saturday is the last day of a 6 month stint as the education coordinator at my local small Texas town JoAnn. I’ll echo what you said, I did not get paid enough to go through what I did. I’m a bit ocd and the filthiness of the store drove me mad. Even the education department is bottom line motivated. I did not get paid for classes of less than 4 students. (which were most of the classes I taught in 6 months). The hourly pay was pittance. I spent most of my time trying to help customers, backing up at the register, and stocking the ever empty shelves. A few times I ran into the bathroom and sprayed bleach cleaner everywhere. Though I am an avid seamstress, quilter, and crafter, I try not to shop there. It’s not worth it. The coupons make you think you are getting a good deal, but think, you are spending extra so you can use a coupon. Thanks for being honest.

  44. Agree wholeheartedly. Maybe you could put together some kind of file of online sites that others have used and found reputable, honest and reliable. And don’t charge a fortune for shipping. I think Missouri Quilt Co only charges $5 shipping. Try Wawak for zippers, split order with others.

    • My favorite is They’re fast , reliable, the shipping rates are not high AND, they have a design board that matches colors for me, which is REALLy important since internet colors are not always true. 🙂

  45. I was very upset with JoAnn’s about 1 year ago and wrote a scalding letter to the CEO. I got a phone call from the VP of operations. Two of many things I complained about the VP of operations was amazed. How the program was designed was not how it was implemented and no one checked. In fact he admitted that he almost called me before he checked to tell me I was wrong. Then he found out I was right. Did it change much? No! Have I cut way back on my purchases at Joann’s…. Yes! but I am lucky, I live near Portland Oregon that has many independent stores, many only have quilting fabric, but one Fabric Depot has lots of both home dec and fashion fabric. I live there even though it is 20 more miles from my house and more expensive. I make special trips there. There is also a special fabric store, Rose City Textiles. Both of these have limited on-line presence, but both will take phone calls and mail things. Also, being a computer scienctist I live on-line so have found many on-line fabric stores that I frequent. Vogue fabrics and are two of my more recent favorites.

    • I really do wish we had a few good independat stores in our area. The best one near us is Mary-Jo’s in Gastonia, NC and it is totally fantastic, but its also a solid 1-1/2 hours away from me. 🙁

  46. I feel your post is a bit harsh. It’s a blanket request that could hurt those stores that are run well, are clean and organized and have helpful staff. Yes, there is such a thing. We have a wonderful Joanns up here near the Canadian border where I live. They do a terrific business too. If they disappear, there would be NOTHING for all the qulters and sewists for a 150 mile radius. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Have been in management for many years I have learned that management sets the tone and it is the same at the store level. If the manager is not organized, the store is not organized, ad infinitum. The best thing they can do is train there management better and expect higher standards from them as well. That nice Joanns near me? The manager is wonderful and has been the manager for over twenty years! She is a local fixture and respected.
    There are two sides to every coin.

    • Sorry you feel that way Bunny- but that’s kinda the way its been here for the past 10 years. We had terrific stores here and along came JoAnns who ran them all out of business and then let their store go to pot. We don’t have a decent store for 150 miles and no its not fun AT ALL. And you know what? The blame does not belong with us or this post…You can place it squarely on the shoulders of of the corporate guys and gals at joAnns whom we have BEGGED to do something about these crummy stores.

  47. I happen to like the 3 Joann stores around my area. Where else can you get such great coupons and you can use as many as you want as long as the code number is different on each one? I don’t buy fabric there, but it’s my No. 1 source for quilting notions, rulers, sewing notions, Pellon, embroidery thread, and yarn. Someone mentioned the limitations on the coupons. It’s no different than any other big box store having early bird coupons. Candy in the checkout lines? Just like the grocery stores.

    Long lines in Joann’s? Doesn’t bother me at all because everything I get there is on sale.

    There are 6 quilt shops within a 20-mile radius from my home. I don’t shop at any of them. Why should I when I can get my quilting fabric for less online?

    I have to think of MY bottom line too!

  48. I hadn’t bought fabric at JoAnn’s for over a year, and then a couple of weeks ago had to go back and get more of some fabric I had bought there quite a while ago. I was disappointed to find the quality of the fabric had deteriorated considerably. I never would have bought it if I hadn’t had to match it to what I had previously purchased. As I looked at (and felt) the fabrics while I was there, I found they were ALL like that — low thread count, rough and scratchy — ugh. Another customer was making the same observations to her friend. The store was in its usual state of disarray, so nothing had improved since my last trip there.
    I have a shop on Etsy and I go through hundreds of yards of fabric every year, 98% of which I now buy online. I know many people are hesitant to buy fabric online because you can’t feel it first, and at times, that has been a problem — I’ve had a few shipments where had I felt it first, I’d never have bought it. But over time, I’ve found if I stick to certain manufacturers and designers, the quality is pretty consistent all the time, so I don’t have to worry about getting a piece that’s poor quality. Some sites offer free shipping over a certain amount; some offer discounts depending on how much yardage is purchased; some have really great sales. I have no reason to make the 70-mile round-trip to JoAnn’s anymore, and given what I saw there last time, there’s no point in ever going back.

  49. I’ve got 2 Joanns near me and both are a mess. They’ve always had a ticket at the cutting table but sometimes you spend more time waiting to have fabric cut than you do finding the fabric you want to purchase. Then to top it off they don’t cut straight, measure it short or have to ask multiple times how much it was that you wanted. The last time I was there I waited in the cutting line for 35 mins and when my turn came the clerk was so slow that I just wanted to take away her scissors and send her to take a nap. The cutting for 12 pieces of yardage took her another 30 minutes. I’ve actually had to return fabric as after having purchased 8 – 1/4 yd cuts I got home to find they were all between 7-8″. I paid for 2 yds of fabric but only got 1 1/2 yds. Between the long lines at the cutting table and then the long lines at the cash registers it’s easily a 1/2 day wasted. Thank goodness it’s not something I have to do often. I too purchase more & more of my fabric online and just consider the shipping my gas cost if I was to drive some place. By the way I love your posts.

  50. I agree with your description of your store in Winston-Salem- it sounds just like the Greenville store except it is usually clean. Have to wait forever to get someone’s attention to check out and that awful junk around the cashier is disgusting the employees are nice but not always knowledgeable. I am very happy with customer service excellent!! They sent the incorrect amount of fabric once and told me to keep it and sent the right amount free of charge.

  51. WOW! Thanks and that was wonderful. Long ago I use to travel miles in bad traffic to get to our only local JOANN store and one day it was totally different and you are right on the BUTTON. I then started going shopping on line more and more. A few years ago they opened a Joann store very close, and nothing changed, so I just go when I have to, as it is so very disappointing. To All the many comments above I am right with you. Sad that people and customer service do not mean anything any longer. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest so to speak. Thank and have a WONDERFUL HOLIDAY Season. Cathy

  52. I do shop Joann’s mostly, but I haven’t had too much need to buy fabric in quite a while, my stash usually has what I need these days. But I ONLY shop there for sale items or with coupons. My LQS does carry notions like zippers and bias tape and thread and things like that though, so I rarely get them from Joann’s. Usually when I need those things, I need them NOW LOL So a 20 mile trip to Joann’s isn’t as easy to make as a 6 mile trip to my LQS.

    That said, I have 2 Joann’s within 30 miles. The nearer one is an older, smaller store that has recently been updated. I like what they’ve done, and that it is still about half fabric and sewing stuff. Everyone is friendly, it’s usually pretty clean, and the lines aren’t too bad. The other is one of the superstores, and while they usually have everything I need, it’s hard to find, and the lines are always much longer (especially during the big coupon sales…the line will wind right out of the rat race and halfway to the cutting table!)

    I’m happy to see now though that more quilt shops are opening here! We have had 3-4 open within 20 miles of my home this year, one is even on the way to the LQS I usually go to. But that new one seem to cater more to those with embroidery machines rather than regular quilters. Their fabric selection is decent, but more than half the store is useless to me. The one I usually go to has loads of fabric, patterns (including purses!), and just about all the notions I need, so they’re my LQS of choice.

    Thanks for letting me know about Material Girls. They’re about 60 or so miles from me, so I may have to make a trip of it one day and head down there 🙂

  53. Ladies, Please listen to yourselves! I have waited in the cutting line many times… I have heard things like.. “She would go faster if she didn’t have to re-roll the fabric .”(Would that contribute to a mess?). ” She could go faster if she did (or didn’t), do this, this, or that…”. “There just isn’t enough help here!” (Ladies, please put yourself in the other persons position! Can (will) YOU go faster? Can (will) YOU be more pleasant as a sales or cutting person? Do YOU really think so? Get a job at Joannes… Let’s see how YOU can make things better… YOU go and listen to all of the complaints from all of the customers… Let’s see how it “colors” YOUR. day! Think to yourselves. “If I were that sales or cutting person, ” How would I deal with people like ME!??? How do “I” contribute to the problem?”. NO, I do not work for Joannes I personally don’t have the temperament to put up with people that can sit and complain about so many things, and can’t figure out how “they” contribute to the problem! Personally, I’m glad that I have a Joannes that I can go to, to buy whatever it is that I want. And yes, as their customer, it happens all the time… People complain to me about what ever service they choose to complain about, I tell them that “These women are doing every thing possible to care for their customers.”. “You go do their job!!!”. If you had to put up with crabby women all day, do you think that you might get a little crabby too? THINK ABOUT HOW YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROBLEM! Enough said..

    • Thanks for commenting Carol… but I think you have missed the point. The employees at JoAnn’sCAn be surly and lazy,,, that’s a fact, BUT,, and this is a big but… I would NOT want to work for a corporate office that would treat me as callously as the JoAnn’s corporate office treats BOTh their customers and their employees. The bulk of my complaint about JoAnn’s is the horrid conditions of the store, and the lack of staffing, neither of which the employees can do anything about AND which significantly contributes to the attitudes and work habits of said employees. I think if you read my post and my comments you’ll see that i am voicing concern for the employees. if they had a nicer place to work and weren’t so understaffed and got paid a little better, its bound to have a positive effect on them as well as the customer. I dont know of one comment that blamed this situation on the employees of JoAnns, BUT having said that, many of the problems with JoAnns are employee related and need to be addressed by the corporate office. If EVER the corporate office improves the situation for their employees, the situation for us the customer wpould improve as well.
      So calm down please and read the post as well as the comments with this in mind and I think you’ll feel better. 🙂

  54. Tommie O'Sullivan

    WOW! Things haven’t changed a bit, have they?

    I’ve been employed by JoAnn for more than six years and I’m one of the few people who can actually answer questions on nearly any product in the store. I teach classes for pretty much everything except painting. I’m currently on medical leave and I haven’t decided if I’m going back to work there or not. I started working at JoAnn in a small town and the manager really sets the tone of whether or not a store is clean or neat or both. If I see something on the floor, I pick it up and put it where it belongs…frequently in the trash can.

    JoAnn is sort of like Walmart….except that JoAnn provides benefits to part time employees. Not great benefits, but health insurance, etc. years before the Affordable Care Act was law.

    However, JoAnn is definitely a bottom line company. Employees start at minimum wage and only get a salary increase on the anniversary of their hire dates. There are NO increases for doing a great job. and if minimum wage happens to increase, there is no “company” raise that year, just the legal guarantee. I can honestly say that many of the employees that I worked with were using food stamps to supplement their income. They made little enough money that the qualified for food stamps and other welfare based programs.

    The most galling thing about this, however is the monthly company newsletter which crows about how well JoAnn is doing, financially. There is no debt and the profits are at record level. They don’t seem to understand that their success is riding on the backs of poorly trained and grossly underpaid employees.

    For me, I started at minimum wage and after five years and changing job titles, had increased my salary by $2.00 per hour. Then I moved to another state and the minimum wage where I live now is more than I was making after five years working with the company. I bring a lot to the table, both in personal knowledge and in terms of working for this company, but someone hired off the street for the holidays makes the same salary as I do now. Another reason to not return to work when my medical leave is finished.

    I rarely shop at JoAnn unless I get a killer deal on a discontinued item and can use my piddling employee discount on top of the price. There are many times when coupons that are a percentage off the total purchase are better than the employee discount, and like any other customer, a coupon and an employee discount can not be used on the same item. It’s either/or for us, too. However, it is sad that customers get a better discount than employees. There’s not much incentive to continue working there.

    I prefer to shop at local fabric stores, and at local sewing machine vendors (for notions).

    On line, one of my personal favorites websites is Their prices are very good and I can find notions there that aren’t readily available elsewhere. e.g. a “fussy cutter” guide that works with a rotary cutter so that you don’t waste fabric with “overcuts” from a rotary blade.

    I don’t shop at Walmart for the same reasons as most people don’t shop at JoAnn. I already support their employees with my taxes that provide food stamps, etc. because they underpay their employees. I refuse to also put money into the pockets of the Walton Family. Never shopped at Walmart and I never will.

    As for fabric quality, Kat, you might want to cross Hobby Lobby off your list. Their fabric makes JoAnn look like imported Egyptian cotton.

    FYI: I you’ve found a fabric shop that you like, most will do mail order, they just don’t advertise that or post it on their websites, but I’ve had good luck with those small shops sending me photos of fabrics in emails and then with ordering what I need.

  55. I do not shop at JoAnn’s because I can not stand the lines!! Holy moly!! I’ve walked in JoAnn’s in the past, counted 32 people in line!!!!! Turned and walked out as I said to the people standing in line…..”I don’t need ANYTHING….that badly!” Phew! No way Jose’! My projects are also planned 2-3 ahead and I purchase at some of my favorite online fabric stores. I actually save money shopping online because the stores have free shipping (save gas!) if you purchase a certain amount I also get my zippers and my notions online. I might add that I would purchase at my LQS but they never have any fabric (they are selling fabric from 3 seasons ago!) I like and no zippers and not a very large selection of notions. 🙁

  56. Have completely quit shopping at Jo Anns. The quality of their fabrics and supplies are bad and getting worse.
    The nearest store is 80 miles from me and I get angry every single time I go there. Can shop online and at the 2 stores that are 37 miles from me when I do go off my mountain and would rather have quality than quanity.
    One ticked off customer

  57. I was really surprised to read all the comments about JoAnn’s. I shop at the JoAnn’s in Mooresville, NC. I have to say that it is a very nice store. Everything is organized with lots of choices and I’ve never had a problem with an employee. In fact, they’ve given me coupons when I didn’t have one. I don’t know why this particular store is different and I have nothing to compare it to since this store is the only JoAnn’s I’ve ever been in.

  58. and Connecting Threads are my “go to” for 95% of my fabric. Home Sew gets my money for most of my notions. Both and Connecting Threads have free shipping ($35 for and $50 for C T) which is a must for me as I live in the Seattle area. Brubakers in PA do a wonderful online business for my Janome machines (15% off if you belong to Janome’s Yahoo Group) –the discount takes care of any shipping costs. Most online retailers have great design walls so you can “match” your fabric very well–better than with the poor lighting in most fabric stores. I won’t shop Hobby Lobby, now—–. If you belong to the American Sewing Guild you get discounts from most retailers online and many notion dealers!

  59. I quit shopping at JoAnn’s a couple of years back, although the Augusta, Georgia store is clean and has helpful employees. Even with coupon savings, the quality of the fabrics leaves a lot to be desired. My online “fabric store” of choice is now The site has a wonderful color-matcher feature to help match colors and works quite well. I purchase Bella Solids there regularly for under $5/yard. Rarely do I spend more than $5 a yard for fabric anywhere, since I am retired and every penny counts.

  60. It appears that I am pretty much standing alone on this, but I like my local Joann’s. A couple of years back, they re-did the store, got a new store manager and new stock. The new facelift completely changed the whole feel of the store and the manager is helpful and on top of things. The numbers at the cutting table work great and there are almost always two employees cutting and most times there are two or more cashiers. From reading other posts, I guess we are quite fortunate here in Reno, NV. There are even some employees that are quite knowledgeable about fabric, sewing, etc. There are the obligatory teenage/young adults that couldn’t care less about learning anything, but for the most part the gals are very helpful and willing to stop what they are doing and help. Again, we must be very lucky!

  61. I was just having this conversation with my husband yesterday! I am glad I ran across your blog and saw this, because I thought I was just getting snarky in my middle age. Just to add to the list, I’ve had pretty good luck ordering online from Denver Fabrics. They have things like silks, linens, bridal fabrics, and notions like steel boning and buckram.

  62. I seldom shop at JoAnn’s, but have noticed there seems to be a dearth of help and long lines when I do go there.

    On the subject of online shopping, I’m sorry to see a woman suggest shopping at Holly Lobby, a company that refuses to include access to birth control in their insurance plan for employees.

  63. I’m so sorry that so many of you have had such terrible experiences with Joann’s. Our Joann’s has been the only game in town for a long time (not counting Walmart), but they have gotten better with the recent change. They now have a larger foot print with more fabric and yarn. The take a ticket and bank-like check out lines work better, (but only because ours are properly staffed ).

    My mom decided to make blankets for her grand kids after not having sewn in years. The woman working the cutting table was meticulous in making sure my mom got straight cuts. I made sure to praise her to her boss on a subsequent trip.

    Maybe if we just would boycott the bad Joann’s, Corporate would look at why the good Joann’s are succeeding.

    I do agree with the coupon thing though. It makes me feel like I am always getting ripped off if I need to buy something without a coupon.

  64. I had no idea that you had a blog (love your patterns) so I didn’t see your posts about JoAnn’s until today. I have a large one near me that is almost always an abysmal experience. And as I get around the state, I stop in at other JoAnn’s along the way. They are equally bad. At one of them, I was looking for Vogue magazine and was actually told that there is no such thing, that there are Vogue catalogues and patterns only. At the one closest to me, when I inquired about a particular pattern catalogue, I was told that they don’t have catalogues for that brand–not true. Sometimes, in order to get a pattern that I want during a sale, I go to a JoAnn’s on the other side of town and it is a much much different experience. I have walked out of the one close to me many times when I either didn’t have time to wait in the long lines moving at a glacial pace, or I was too frustrated that staff was present but not waiiting on customers. On one occasion, an employee overheard me telling the woman next to me in line that I was going to the other JoAnn’s, and called out to me that it would be just as busy. Except it’s not, most of the time, even during sales. I go to JoAnn’s as little as possible. Even when I need something simple like a zipper, I am often unable to find what I need because their stock is chronically so depleted. I have written complaint letters and received no response. A manager over 15 years ago told me that their staffing levels are always based on last week’s sales data, which (if still their policy–and it seems to be) would explain why their staffing and wait times during big sales are so very very bad.

  65. One of the places I shop online is Pattern Review ( They sell patterns from the commercial companies, as well as smaller independent patternmakers. There is a great community forum to inquire about information for fabrics, machines, etc. Anyway, I agree with the comments of discontent regarding JoAnn’s and will be doing as little shopping there as possible (which is MOSTLY!). Unfortunately, they sell so much other junk, I think most people who shop there anymore don’t sew so I don’t know if a boycott by people who sew will affect them. I’m willing to be part of the effort though!

  66. Firstly I love your newsletter. Read before anything else. I am assuming you cannot mention on-line fabric stores. I would love to find one. Have ordered twice, and each time there was a glaring mistake made. Now, afraid to try again. Thanks for any info you or anyone can give me.