The Problem with JoAnn’s

A Call to Action!

I don’t know what the JoAnn’s fabric & Craft store near you is like, but the one in Winston-Salem, NC is a total dump. It’s filthy, poorly stocked, and the customer service is horrendous. This week I added two more bad JoAnn’s experiences to the huge list I already had, and I think I just reached my limit. I just couldn’t take it anymore and posted a comment about it on my FaceBook fan page, which started a barrage of replies that surprised even ME! It seems I struck a nerve! I wasn’t alone in my disgust about JoAnn’s!

But all of this makes me really wonder how a store can show this little regard for their customers and still stay in business? And the obvious answer is, because we continue to shop there. We put up with it.

Now I know there are a few nice JoAnn’s out there.
I’ve been to a few.
One in Rochester, NY, and one in Raleigh, NC to name two.
And the one you shop at may be just fine.

But this post is dedicated to the rest of us who live in remote areas and do not have other viable options for sewing supplies. Tomorrow, I am sending an official complaint to the corporate offices of JoAnn’s, since I have not received satisfaction any other way. Please click here to see why, and to read my letter. I for one, have resolved to do as little shopping at JoAnn’s as possible, until conditions improve. I am going to try my best to get my supplies either from online stores or local quilting stores, even if I have to drive further to get them. I really think the only thing that big corporations like this understand, is their bottom line, and until we effect that, we can really expect no change. They will continue to disrespect us until we get their attention!
If you’ve had similar experiences at the JoAnn’s near you, I would LOVE for you to do these three things;

  • add a comment below detailing your experience at JoAnn’s, and in what town/state that JoAnn’s is located. If your experience has been good, post it, if your JoAnn’s is the pits, tell us why you think so.
  • if you’ve had pleasant dealings with an online vendor, please give their web address here and what you’ve ordered from them. For example, I like dealing with  for Australian and other ethnic fabrics! I’d like to prepare a future post compiling these resources for the convenience of all of us, to aid in our avoidance of JoAnn’s. .
  • And finally, if you feel inclined to detail your dissatisfaction in a letter to corporate headquarters, you can used the address that I did in my letter.Maybe if they get a barrage of similar letters, they will stick to just discounting their products and quit discounting our opinions!

I advised JoAnn’s that I would be sharing my bad experiences in my Blog and on my FaceBook fanpage, and I encouraged them to come here to see what the responses have been, so let ’em have it! If we’ve learned anything in the last couple of weeks, it’s that the Social Networks are very powerful tools to effect change, so let’s band together and show JoAnn’s how we feel and what we’re willing to do about it! Thanks so much for your support!

If you have friends or family who you think might want to also have input about the ineffectual service provided by JoAnn’s, please feel free to pass this post on to them by linking it to YOUR Facebook page or at StumbleUpon! And as always, please feel free to leave your comments, both pro and con, in the space provided below.

224 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I’ve been on the internet since it was text-only. JoAnn’s earned the acronym TSWLTH* waaaaaay back then, and that term is still in common use.

    *The Store We Love to Hate

    Google it.

    Bert in Rice, WA — two hours north of the nearest TSWLTH and I don’t even bother when I am in the neighborhood.

    • I finished a long time ago with JoAnn’s. They are very poorly stocked and their fabric is a bunch of crap. Very low thread count, and not worth using on a project that you take pride in. I go there as little as possible and the JoAnn’s nearest me is about four blocks away!

  2. I have to agree with the “checked out” employees…I too travel over 20 miles to get to the nearest Jo-Ann fabrics. It amazes me when other guest ask very simple, basic sewing questions and the employees there can not even answer them. I …don’t believe I have been in there once when I did not have to answer questions for guest. Even right down to where fabric is located! I don’t work there, but I seem to know more than the employees that have been there for many years. Maybe they need to actually hire people that know how to sew and craft. They might take more pride in helping others that are just starting and have questions. I too have resorted to online shoppng more and more as I feel I get a better experience from online stores, but also like to take my daughters to the store occasionally to get them inspired to want to learn to sew, but it is hard to take them to a store when the employees act like they hate to be there.See More

    • I feel your pain but Joann’s doesn’t require any experience with fabric or crafts. They see it as a retail job. Most people don’t know that so they get frustrated when they ask questions.

    • I worked at Michael’s for awhile, and some customers want you to be educated in every single craft in the store, which is impossible. There are too many. I had one lady yell at me because I did not know where a certain fake fern was. But JoAnn’s is focused on sewing and it would be helpful if the staff could sew. Unfortunately it is a retail job and you aren’t gonna find people like that unless they work at a specialty quilting store.

    • I was a part-time employee and was always getting into trouble because I spent too much time helping a customer find what they needed. I finally quit because the customers were treated so poorly.

      • I worked at JoAnn’s in Austin TX. I quit. I shopped at a JoAnn’s in Lilburn GA and last at The Woodland’s TX. I have only shopped there once in the last 3 years. I was tired of the attitude toward customers and they never have stores that are shopper friendly. It will be probably 3 more years before I grace their door again.

    • Maybe they would care or have money to take up a sewing as a hobby if they get paid more than minimum wage.

      • If the employees were paid working wages then everyone here would be crying about the “high prices!!!”. No offense, but if folks want Joann service & products to improve, then everyone shopping there should voluntarily begin paying about 50% more for all of their purchases.
        I know that his goes against the desired grain, but personally I love Joann, and I am a professional draper of 14 years. The employees have taught me a plethora of tricks and tips over the years. Maybe if we were in the Middle East or Sub-Sahahan Africa then we might acquire some perspective. Peace.

      • Retail Realist

        You said it, Katie!

        The only way to get a raise at this ridiculous company is to work there for a whole year (to the day), and in the general PA area, I know that apparently the most you can get added on is around 20 cents. 20 CENTS…FOR A WHOLE YEAR OF ABUSE! You would have to work 5 years just to make one extra dollar on that paycheck! Meanwhile, they expect their employees to know everything in the store when, most of the time, the managers don’t even know the answers to questions people ask. Some even blow off employees that ask questions a manager should know.

        Several friends and I travel far to shop at the Greensburg, PA store (it’s the biggest one near Somerset where I live. The memorable moments are when I’ve seen girls in the frame shop ask one of the managers a question, and the answer is ‘You know I don’t do this stuff’, and then they just walk off leaving the question unanswered! I feel bad for the girls who really do try to give good customer service!


    • The problem with that is they hire at minimum wage. They don’t hire craft people, they hire employees who can run the store. Just like at Walmart the employees don’t know details about the items they sale but they can check you out and help you find a location of an item.

  3. Jackie in Michigan

    OK I’ll try again.!/JoAnn?sk=wall
    Here is a place to chat about the stores. Maybe they will pay attention? Who knows.
    Material Girls is a really great shop in Dearborn MI. They have a super supply of Oriental fab along with much more.
    Here in Michigan we have scads of Quilt Shops within a 2 hour drive or less. Between MI and Ohio. Twice a year there is a shop hop with 9 shops in MI and OH. Every quilter should move here LOL

  4. Hi Jackie
    Thanks for commenting- but I would have to respectfully disagree with you on that one.
    I am recommending that comments be placed HERE, on my blogpost for maximum exposure.

    I really think this will be way more effective being down independantly from their Facebook page,since they can delete what they don’t want there. I want to make sure this blog post goes out on it’s own value, and that the comments are made in an uncensored way.

    JoAnn’s has already proven in untold numbers of ways, that they are not listening to their customers by conventional means. I think it’s time to “out” them in public.

    • I completely agree that they don’t listen to their customers and I work there. We have a hard time helping people because we are only aloud to run on a skeliton crew.

      • Another Anonymous

        The store I work in is always tight on payroll, which is very surprising to me seeing as they are constantly raising prices. They pay us a crap wage that you can’t live on, and I’m a MANAGER. I do yarn crafts, so it amuses me when people get offended when I tell them I don’t sew and I don’t want to give them incorrect information. “Then why do you work here?” “Because I knit and crochet.” (I’m a male so I get an even funnier look when I say that.) I do agree that there are some people that shouldn’t work in customer service and retail. And there are also people who start yelling and cursing at me, and swinging their umbrella at me because they have to wait their turn for service. My store has thankfully filtered them out and we have received more good reviews than bad. Out district manager is a micro-managing pain who expects us to get 50,000 tasks done by the end of the day when there are only three people set to run the store on a Saturday, and we are OVER on payroll. This company needs a huge overhaul. If they paid and cared about their employees more, then there would most likely be better customer service. Just look at Costco. They pay their employees a great pay and they get great benefits, and that’s why their employees like to STAY with the company. My store is a revolving door. I have seen 20 employees come and go over and over. It’s sad. It all leads back to corporate and big business.

        • I have to agree, I acutally enjoy Joanns-meaning I am into arts and crafts. It has been one of my favorite jobs but they suck!! How do they expect us to help customers when there are only two of us in the store. And we have dedicated tasks like cutting fabric and the register.
          I also think customers need to come there realizing that it is a RETAIL STORE this isn’t Joanns crafts some flowery place that cares about your every move. We are PEOPLE too, we don’t know everything and we can’t do everything at the same time. We are FOLLOWING RULES we cannot bend them for your every whim. It is absolutely RIDICULOUS the things some of these older women come in there requesting with no manners. I’m 25, these old women have spent so much time on the earth and still haven’t learned PATIENCE. Still want to get an attitude with someone and ruin the discourse over a coupon. GET REAL these people have babies, these people are struggling to make ends meet have some COMPASSION.
          The managers aren’t good. I’ve gotten in trouble for trying to clean and organize fabric. They don’t have enough hours to get everything done. This is BIG BUSINESS, you really think you’re about to have a professional seamstress with a lot of skill and knowledge working in there for 7.50 an hour?? NOOO
          A manager told me that it used to be required that all associates take the sewing 101 class they offer but they don’t do that anymore.
          I think Joanns has potential but I mean come on all the merchandise pretty much comes from CHINA…Yall want to buy the stuff for 10 CENTS- you get what you pay for.
          People that work there generally like the job but they hate the way things are managed. Joanns doesn’t really care about employees. They think the 20% discount makes up for the low wages.

        • Reading all these stories has made me thankful for the JoAnn’s that I work at. I work at the one in Lady Lake, FL. All of my coworkers are super nice and the primary manager is really good. She will not hire someone if she feels they aren’t friendly or charming in some way. There are certainly way more than two or five employees in our store at a time. We’re all pretty diverse with what kind of things we can help with. Some are knowledgeable about sewing, knitting, crochet, others about floral or inks, then there’s me, who is good with helping people with questions about designing, paints or various illustrative things, and a little bit about yarn.

          Reading through all of these comments has made me really thankful for the one that I work at. Wow.

  5. I am one of the lucky ones that has good experiences with nearby Joanne’s. One is a small version in Angola Indiana and another is a Super Joanne’s in Jackson Michigan. Both are clean and well organized. I must say I don’t need customer assistance often because I know what I want. I just read the above post and I wish someone would organize a bus trip to some of these quilt shops in MI and OH. I don’t like to drive to areas I am unfamilier with but love to shop fabric!!

  6. I have had to tolerate JoAnn’s because it is the closest store to me — 35 miles, one way — now that Wal-Mart has all but eliminated their fabric department. The latest “redesign” of our local store (and others, I’m sure) means we wait even longer than we used to in order to have fabric cut — everyone takes a number, and then we all stand around in a big glob with our shopping carts or bolts-in-arms, trying to stay out of the way of other shoppers who are just trying to get past the one and only cutting table. Once that joy is past, it’s on to check-out, where we all stand single-file, snaked around Disney-World style, waiting for the next available cashier, where I am inevitably greeted by the ubiquitous and meaningless question, “Did ya find everything OK?” from a clerk who couldn’t care less whether I did or not. (I hate that greeting; it’s a personal pet peeve of mine…) There’s a Hancock Fabrics a few miles away from JoAnn’s, and though it means having to back-track on my journey, I frequent it more and more, and Jo-Anns less and less. People who really sew, and I mean SEW, need to be waited on by others who have a clue as to what they need, not a high school kid who has never picked up a sewing needle.

  7. I too must chime in here! The Joann’s in Chesapeake, Va is one of the worst around. The service is awful. I stood at the check out counter with one item waiting I know for 4 minutes sounds short I know, but when you’re waiting in line it seems like a long time! The kicker…. the 2 clerks who I know saw me walk up, didn’t even turn around and acknowledge me – WHY? because they were SO busy trying on a pair of high heel green shoes!!!!!! I finally said ” Could someone check me out please?” They turned around a were obviously upset they had to stop what they were doing and wait on me! Besides that, this store is ALWAYS a wreck! Bolts of fabric are always parked in carts, one can hardly get through the aisles. The stock on the shelves is messy, not to mention the bolts of fabrics on the shelves! I am so glad that StudioKat blogged this, because I too have had similar experiences and refuse to go back to this store EVER!!

  8. Thanks so much for commenting to all of you!
    I really wish we could start a firestorm here. JoAnn’s needs to understand that we are angry and we’re not going to take it anymore! 🙂
    And just as an aside. I like that you are mentioning the town and state in your writeups. If JoAnn’s headquarters does check in, this way they can see where the bad JoAnns are located. And if you know of a really good JoAnns (and there are some, believe it or not), that would be helpful for them to know as well.
    Feel free to pass this post along to your friends who might need to VENT a little as well!

    • Bette Martell

      I am so sorry that so many of you fellow “sewists” have had such a bad time shopping at JoAnn’s. I have been a satisfied customer of theirs for many years, having shopped at several of their stores here in Atlanta, GA, where I’ve lived for 40 years. The staff have always been courteous and helpful, and seem interested in whatever project I am currently working on. True, not all of them can know all about all the crafts available, or what weird item I’m looking for to complete a project, but I need to get my “JoAnn fix” at least monthly, if not sooner! My closest store is about 10 miles away…for a quick thread or zipper purchase, I’d head for Hancock’s (about 4 miles), but since they’re smaller, they don’t have half the inventory of a JoAnn’s. I’m very fortunate to have both available.

  9. I have to be honest. The joanns store that I go to is pretty good about knowing what they are talking about and knowing where things are located. And especially the ones in the sewing machine dept tho I know they arent exactly employees of joanns. But over all, my joanns is pretty good. I do realize that not all of them are like that. I’m just saying mine isnt. Phoenix. I10-Ray.

  10. Am reading with great interest the comments about JOANNS. I live west of Cleveland Ohio. We have one VERY pathetic Joann’s in my town. I only shop there to keep it from closing because there is NO WHERE else to buy even the most basic things like thread and elastic. 15 miles away we have a Joannns super center~ its only somewhat better. Years ago we had a nearby Minnesota Fabrics and WALMART had basics. BTW I am NOT a quilter but SEW alot, knit and make hairbows.
    Also, my son and daughter~in~law live in Michigan. When we go to visit my DIL takes me to different JOANNS~Novi, Auburn Hills, Waterford area …. Some of them are heaven and others are~ well, you know 🙁

  11. I live in an area of mid-Michigan where there are 5 JoAnn’s I shop at from a very small one in Owosso 15 minutes away, to Flint 30 minutes away where I usually shop or the big 2 story one in Novi 50 minutes away, Brighton and Lansing are ot…hers I go to. I have never had a bad experience with any of them that I can recall and know of numerous times employees have gone out of their way to help me. Michigan’s economy has been hit really hard the last few years and many businesses have had to cut back on employees hours making for cranky employees but I really hadn’t noticed this at JoAnn’s. Hopefully your compaints will be heard and changes will be made at the store where you used to shop.See More

  12. I live in Northwest Pennsylvania, and really like my local Joann store. Everyone is friendly and helpful. Perhaps it’s the area/region that makes a difference. Good luck with getting resolution to your complaint.

  13. I always found that if people would complain to the right people things get done and corrected. but to many people want to complain and do nothing else thinking that it won’t make a difference.
    One person can make a major impact to changin…g things~!!!!!!See More

  14. I live outside Philadelphia. Our JoAnn’s is pretty good. It’s clean, well-stocked and the sales people are fairly knowledgeable though often grumpy, not sure why. My biggest complaint is the variety of fabrics. I primarily save my shopping there for notions, etc., and I tend to go out to Lancaster to buy fabric. I also buy fabric on line since I can usually find what I want faster.

  15. Complain…that is ridiculous. There is a bad JoAnns in another part of our state and the manager is so awful, the store is dirty and employees miserable. Very different from the super great JoAnns in Louisville, I love that store.

  16. I find it very difficult to locate a friendly, clean, and organized JoAnn’s in any part of the country.

  17. I shop at my local JoAnns rarley for interfacing and zippers when I need something in a hurry, but mostly, I think the store is a dump with a lot of unhappy people working there. They are really missing out on a lot of business that could be generated by the current sewing revival because of their poor business practices. Their loss. Thank God for the internet!

  18. Passion for Purses

    My JoAnn’s in Boulder, CO is shabby and messy. The salepeople always seem to need to go on their breaks right when I step up to get my fabric cut. My take on it is that JoAnn’s, in it’s eagerness to get on the craft bandwagon, has lost it’s focus on a qualtiy selection and presentation of fabric. It just seems like JoAnn’s is just limping along making whatever profit they can make without really giving a hoot about passionate sewers want.

  19. I have been sewing since I was in jr high.(43 yrs ago) I live in Elyria Ohio and the JOANNS here is pathetic! I only shop there to keep it from closing. There is NO WHERE ELSE in town to get even the basics like thread and elastic. The Elyria store is dirty and disorganized! Some of the employees are nice and helpful but not overall. There is a JOANNS supercenter about 15 miles away in N. Olmstead. It is marginally better, at least as far as being clean and organized. I have taking knitting and crochet classes there and like the instructor. My grandbabies lives less than 2 miles from there so I go often. My son and daughter~in~law live in Waterford MI. When we go to visit my DIL has taken me to some JOANNS in their area~ not sure exactly where but around Novi, Pontiac, Auburn Hills. Our experiences there vary ~ some of them are heaven and some of them are~well~not! Years ago we had a Minnesota Fabrics in N. Olmstead and our (now closed) WALMART used to have a limited fabric dept. I don’t quilt but do SEW ALOT. A few years ago, LOTS of purses. Since the grandchildren were born all kinds of baby blankets,sheets, bumper pads, diaper stckers, burp cloths, etc. Have spent a TON of money recently on ribbon on make hairbows. Good luck with your attempt to gain improve the situation!

  20. I would have to say that I must be lucky. The JoAnn’s near me is only a couple of minutes from my home, Tavares, FL. There is always someone there to help and service is always wonderful… there are alot of crafters/workers who are very… knowledgeable and when you ask them where something is they know where to find it and even show you. I do have to say there was a time that I actually quit going to this store. Checkout was a minimum 30-45 minute wait. I have had to walk out a couple times because of this as I was on my lunch break. I am assuming that I wasn’t the only one that has quit going as this problem has resolved. Good luck to you in your endeavor, as no crafter should have to put up with that type of treatment.See More

  21. Thanks to you all for participating. I appreciate each and every comment. I’ll keep you posted as to the response (or the lack of one) from JoAnn’s. I’m not hopeful for change given their current attitude, but you never know. 🙂

  22. I just wrote a long comment on your blog, but it would not let me post it!Anyway the JoAnns in Bellingham, WA is one of the bad ones. Lack of customer service, unpacked boxes left crowding the aisles causing a hazard to customer. ON the very rare occasions I go there(about once every 2 years) I am am always dissappointed and disgusted. I worked for years in a local fabric store, it was always a friendly and helpful place. I would even stay after hours without pay if I had a customer who could not make it in during regular hours.

  23. I live an hour from Roanoke VA and an hour from Lynchburg VA. I was getting dissappointed in the Roanoke store a couple of years ago. They have closed the old store and are re-opening in a new location (maybe open by now). I’ll check it out to see if things have improved. the Lyunchburg store is tooo crowded with merchandise. The isles are narrow only room for one person to pass through with a cart. I haven’t experienced rudeness, but they do seem to be understaffed sometimes. I only go in to use my coupons for things I absolutely need.
    We are fortunate to have 2 that’s TWO quilt shops here at the lake 15 minutes from me! As well as several other quilt shops in both Roanoke and Lynchburg. Of course the customer service in all of the quilt shops is just fabulous! I do buy fabric on line. I like I also buy from and


  24. Our local JoAnn’s closed about a year ago and there is no place in my small town to buy decent notions and fabrics any longer. So, I drive up to south Toledo, OH. This JoAnn’s — like most — is now a glorified craft store for the most part. They also have lots of fleece fabric for making quickie blankets but if I wanted to make a wool suitcoat, I’m out of luck. The store is often messy, I have to get a number and wait in line to have fabric cut (sometimes 15 minutes or more), and the checkout line is liked with cheap junk. I hate it. But the next closest store is another 10 miles away; it’s a Hancock Fabric store and has a much better selection and the staff is far more helpful and that store is not crowded with cheap craft crap.

  25. I am a quilter. I have a passion for fabrics and teaching/sharing quilting. I work on the other side of the cutting counter and should love working at JoAnn’s with all the fabric and the guests.

    We are constantly understaffed during big promotions. It appears the computerized formula that is used (ratio of previous week’s income to staffing for the following week) is never looked at with common sense. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been scheduled ALONE at the cutting counter durring a huge coupon promotion weekend. The computer will schedule our breaks and lunch. So if you are scheduled from 11am – 7:30pm it will schedule breaks at 1pm and 5pm with lunch at 3pm – 3:30. To illustrate the need for “common sense override” the MANAGER should be able to see this 8 hour shift for 1 person scheduled alone for the last 5 hours of the shift, then only the 1pm break is covered by another person at the cutting counter. It is unacceptable to close the cutting counter 30 minutes and it is illegal for me not to take lunch prior to the 6th hour of work.

  26. (me again) When working on the calico wall, I was told it looked great but I was taking too long. (Remember I’m a quilter.) I replied, “I like to take pride in my work… I thought it was to be done right.” The manager told me, “You don’t have time to take pride in this job.” From that point on I check my “quilter’s pride” at the door before clocking in. I keep the knowledge to answer your questions. I feel that you are robbed of the interaction to help cultivate your seeds of inspiration into a finished project.

    I wish they would send the “undercover boss” to follow me around. I have ways to work smarter not harder and speed things up. Everytime I’ve presented these suggestions to management I have been rebuffed. I’m stubborn but after a dozen or so times of suggestions being smashed I just quit making them.

    It is sad to say there are only a few times I have really felt respected and/or effective.

  27. This is too funny that you did this post today! My daughter and I went to Jo-Ann’s today and as we were checking out, I said “it must be a must to be a frowning unhappy person to work here”. Our store is located in Evansville,Indiana. It is a relatively new store, the old store was a real dump. Although this one is becoming just like the old one. They are understaffed and miserable there. All the little stores are gone. Prices aren’t that great there anymore. I looked at the price of their keepsake calico and about choked. If I am going to pay over $8.00 a yard, I am going to my local quilt shop and give her the money!

    • YOu’ll certainly get better quality for the price if you do. JoAnn’s sells cheaply made fabrics with low thread count, not high quality cotton.

  28. To the anonymous quilter who works at JoAnn’s-

    Thanks so much for writing and your perspective on the problem at JoAnn’s is particularly telling. I am so sorry you have to work under these circumstances. I cannot imagine having to work all day everyday with people who behave this way! I hope better things come your way soon!

  29. I have been shopping at my local JoAnn’s since we moved here to Poughkeepsie, NY 11 years ago. When I first moved here, it was a real dump. Filthy store, bolts of fabric everywhere, and just generally an icky experience. Over the years, new management came in and now I can say our store is MUCH improved. The only complaint I have is there never seems to be enough staff. The people they have are working hard to please the customer but are over worked.

  30. It seems to me that inconsistency seems to be the general theme when it comes to joAnn’s It’s mind-boggling how there can be this profound a difference between stores that in some cases are only 20-30 miles apart! You don’t see this kind of variation between various JCPenney stores, or Kroger Food Stores, or Carmike movie theatres. Why do you suppose there is this much difference between JoAnn’s stores?

    • Ah ha the right question is asked. There are 3 types of Joanns stores. small, large and super. Each store gets a percentage of staff to work with. unfortunately the super stores get the most people while the smaller stores have to run on a humanly impossible crew. This is why your experiences are so different from store to store. I do believe that you are all right on your comments. It is at the corperate level that things need to change.Unhappy employees also make unhappy customers

    • It all has to do with the management of each store. People should always complain directly to JoAnn’s headquarters. If all of the energy in complaints here were directed to headquarters, it might just make a difference.

  31. KC, MO—North store, very clean and well organized; HOWEVER, while the help is not rude, there are very few people who work there that know anything. Besides that, the fabric is just—well, YUK! If you are sewing garment, most of what t…hey have is CHEEEEEZZZY not to mention overpriced to begin with! The Hancocks in our area has much nicer fabric, more experienced help, but they do a fraction of the business that JA does. That leads me to believe that CRAFTS rule the day at JA, (I do not call sewing crafty—I am serious about it and it is more than a hobby!!) I rarely use my coupons and normally find shoppers in the store to donate them to. Sew there—- my IMHO!See More

  32. I’ve waited as long as 30 minutes to get fabric cut; then another 10-15 minutes in line to pay. The store is located in Canton, MI. Most sales people are friendly; some think you’re taking money out of their pocket. My daughter is a teacher and has the teacher’s discount card. On a visit she was buying one item. The cashier told her the discount was on her ‘entire purchase’ not one item! Since when is one item NOT a total purchase??!!
    I do agree with one of the comments above, the store is a big craft store; the only materials available are those for quilting, fleece, flannel, etc. Very little variety..same old, same old.
    This particular store is clean as is the one I visit in Dearborn. The biggest problem I see is lack of help. The second, lack of intelligent help. The third, lack of variety.

  33. Wow, sorry to hear so many have less than desirable JoAnn’s stores. I love our store, the workers are usually college girls but there are some women who are older and do sew, so kind of evens out. Our store is a about 1/3 fabrics 1/3 crafts and 1/3 decorating stuff. Not perfect but not like some of the stores I’ve heard tales of.

  34. Our local JoAnn’s used to be thriving places – offering a ton of classes… that all stopped when the classes went “corporate”… they could only offer the corporate authorized classes. I generally don’t buy quilting fabric there – unless it’s a name brand and I have a coupon. I do frequent the thread, notions and books when on sale. I’ve also bought upholstery fabric there numerous times. It’s pretty hit or miss as to the quality of the people working there.

  35. I have a great store and a nasty one here. Fortunately, the great one is one of the super stores and is the closest one.

  36. I live in Ohio. I used to live in Columbus and a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…Joann’s used to be a really nice place to get your craft/sewing supplies. Now they are crappy dumps, they poorly stock, they have rude customer service (probably induced by the deplorable conditions – has anyone noticed how insufferably overheated those stores are?) And I vow never to shop in one of their stores EVER. I live in Cleveland now and use Michael’s (still not that great a place) and Pat Catan’s (a little better than Joann’s but no fabrics). I prefer to go to the nice little quilting shops and knitting shops in local areas. I would rather pay a little more for a place that cares about it’s customers AND it’s products.
    I am actually beginning to appreciate online sources for cake decorating supplies and crafting needs. Joann can close it’s doors and it won’t make me blink. It’s time to retire, old lady!

  37. Hello Kat and Fellow Studio Kat Fans,
    I am writing about the Joann’s problem and my experience working for a corporate fabric chain in my home town of Fort Collins, CO.
    I worked for So-Fro Fabrics for several years in the late 1980s until 1991. When I started working there I had no retail experience but a wealth of sewing knowledge which is, I believe, what got me the job. We had a fabulous manager who insisted that the store always be clean and tidied before we signed out for the day. I was promoted to an assistant manager and eventually to Home Decorating Manager. I believe I did a good job in that position and our store had excellent home dec sales figures. I resigned because although our sales were good I did not want to work full time and corporate made that a requirement.
    We had one or two visits from corporate bigwigs during the time I worked there but was only spoken to by one of the executives when she was asking directions to the restroom. They were not interested in any input even from our manager, only in what changes they saw as needing to be made.
    In my time as assistant manager, I learned to do the daily bookkeeping in the store which was transmitted to headquarters daily. Part of the accounting was to figure percentage of salaries to sales and there is the ultimate problem. Corporate kept lowering the acceptable percentage making it nearly impossible to keep the store neat, clean, well-stocked and adequately staffed. During the evening shift when clerks were sent on dinner break there were sometimes only two clerks on the floor in what was then called a “Super Store”. The manager was soon fired because she was not able to meet their sales/percentage figures and do what she saw as a good job. Eventually all of the experienced staff was replaced by lower paid employees. Fort Collins is the home of Colorado State University. They have an excellent Design Merchandising degree department and it is easy to fill the positions with college students looking for part time work.
    As many of you may know So-Fro went into bankruptcy and was acquired by Joann Fabrics. The problems have persisted and increased. I believe that the poor quality of their fabrics and the continuing direction of their desire to turn themselves into Michael’s or Hobby Lobby clones have driven me to only shop there for patterns, thread, zippers and other notions. The lack of sewing knowledge of their staff makes me hesitant to even send anyone to their stores. Last year I was teaching some of my fellow American Sewing Guild members to sew garments and one of the women needed “sew-in” interfacing. The Joann clerks were not even aware that such a thing existed and told this novice sewer to “buy fusible interfacing and just not fuse it”.
    As a sewing junky, I have been in Joann Stores where my children live in San Diego and Woodland Hills, CA and several of the Denver stores and find them to be equally unsatisfactory. The large store located in Loveland, Colorado has no better quality goods because ALL buying decisions are out of local hands. The appearance of the store is good and I believe that this may be a result of their current manager having been trained by and a colleague of my former manager!
    I think that Joann Fabrics should go back to it’s roots as a FABRIC store and stop trying to compete in the crafts department by selling “chotzkes and doodads”. They are NOT doing a satisfactory job in any of these departments. Hobby Lobby has better fabrics and a better variety of craft items.
    In addition to several fine quilting shops in the Ft. Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley area, we have two fairly new fabric stores in Fort Collins. Mama Said Sew, who is on Facebook and The Sewing Circle . I think both of these deserve our support and are responsive to our wants and needs.
    Thanks for letting me “Vent”
    Janice Beitz

  38. Hello Kat and Fellow Studio Kat Fans,
    I am writing about the Joann’s problem and my experience working for a corporate fabric chain in my home town of Fort Collins, CO.
    I worked for So-Fro Fabrics for several years in the late 1980s until 1991. When I started working there I had no retail experience but a wealth of sewing knowledge which is, I believe, what got me the job. We had a fabulous manager who insisted that the store always be clean and tidied before we signed out for the day. I was promoted to an assistant manager and eventually to Home Decorating Manager. I believe I did a good job in that position and our store had excellent home dec sales figures. I resigned because although our sales were good I did not want to work full time and corporate made that a requirement.
    We had one or two visits from corporate bigwigs during the time I worked there but was only spoken to by one of the executives when she was asking directions to the restroom. They were not interested in any input even from our manager, only in what changes they saw as needing to be made.
    In my time as assistant manager, I learned to do the daily bookkeeping in the store which was transmitted to headquarters daily. Part of the accounting was to figure percentage of salaries to sales and there is the ultimate problem. Corporate kept lowering the acceptable percentage making it nearly impossible to keep the store neat, clean, well-stocked and adequately staffed. During the evening shift when clerks were sent on dinner break there were sometimes only two clerks on the floor in what was then called a “Super Store”. The manager was soon fired because she was not able to meet their sales/percentage figures and do what she saw as a good job. Eventually all of the experienced staff was replaced by lower paid employees. Fort Collins is the home of Colorado State University. They have an excellent Design Merchandising degree department and it is easy to fill the positions with college students looking for part time work.
    As many of you may know So-Fro went into bankruptcy and was acquired by Joann Fabrics. The problems have persisted and increased. I believe that the poor quality of their fabrics and the continuing direction of their desire to turn themselves into Michael’s or Hobby Lobby clones have driven me to only shop there for patterns, thread, zippers and other notions. The lack of sewing knowledge of their staff makes me hesitant to even send anyone to their stores. Last year I was teaching some of my fellow American Sewing Guild members to sew garments and one of the women needed “sew-in” interfacing. The Joann clerks were not even aware that such a thing existed and told this novice sewer to “buy fusible interfacing and just not fuse it”.
    As a sewing junky, I have been in Joann Stores where my children live in San Diego and Woodland Hills, CA and several of the Denver stores and find them to be equally unsatisfactory. The large store located in Loveland, Colorado has no better quality goods because ALL buying decisions are out of local hands. The appearance of the store is good and I believe that this may be a result of their current manager having been trained by and a colleague of my former manager!
    I think that Joann Fabrics should go back to it’s roots as a FABRIC store and stop trying to compete in the crafts department by selling “chotzkes and doodads”. They are NOT doing a satisfactory job in any of these departments. Hobby Lobby has better fabrics and a better variety of craft items.
    In addition to several fine quilting shops in the Ft. Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley area, we have two fairly new fabric stores in Fort Collins. Mama Said Sew, who is on Facebook and The Sewing Circle . I think both of these deserve our support and are responsive to our wants and needs.
    Thanks for letting me “Vent”
    Janice Beitz

  39. It sounds like JoAnn would do well to have some secret shoppers

    Kathy from Novi, MI

  40. Well I have to tell you about my JoAnn’s store. It is relatively new and it is clean and the staff is friendly and helpful. I shop there only for notions and would not buy fabric there. When I go to Pa for the summer I shop at a Joann’s in Quakertown, Pa and it is like you described. Unkempt and unfriendly staff, Again I shop there only for things like stabilizer and interfacing and I only hope I can find it because there is certainly no one around to help and the cashiers are usually cranky.

  41. I think that new show, ‘Undercover Boss’ would work well too?

  42. I have to say that I shop at two JoAnn’s locally – each about 15 miles away from me in opposite directions. The store in Lawrenceville NJ is like MOST of the ones described here – very small, poorly lit, extemely disorganized, dirty, with n…o employees who sew or craft. I try to avoid this store – usually only going in AFTER a holiday to check out the clearance area. I have been told that this store is undergoing a major transformation and is adding on to become a superstore. The one in Mt. Laurel NJ is directly the opposite! It is a huge superstore – bright clean and well organized – even their clearance aisle is well kept! It has a very large fabric department which is well kept and has a great variety. The scrapbooking department (which I’ve just recently begun to get into) is humongous and has three table right in the open to use! They do offer classes and I haven’t taken on yet but would like to in the future. I don’t quilt but do garment sew and make home dec items. Their home dec area is AWESOME – I like that there is a section with home dec items like vases, wall decor etc. I try to frequent this JoAnn’s as often as $$$ will allow! Hopefully the “other” store will become just as good so I have TWO places to visit!See More

  43. Joann needs to go to the ol’ folks home…time to retire.

  44. Amen to everything you have said to them. . . I really don’t EVER shop at JoAnn’s and NEVER will. I buy everything I need online since I don’t have a local quilt shop near me. You go girl!!

  45. The closest JoAnns for me is Springfield Mo. 70 miles one way. The store is very well kept, some off the employees are less then friendly. With the prices they charge for products there’s no reason for any of the stores aren’t in tip-top shape and be treated with respect.

  46. In response to the comments about “Undercover Boss” and “secret shoppers”, as a JoAnn’s employee I say “Amen” and “bring it on”! While I agree that areas of some stores are often messy, let me remind you that it’s the customers who pull out bolts and bolts of fabric to audition then leave them all in a carriage – or, better yet, in a pile on the floor; or who root through clearance bins the way my cats dig in the litter box, letting things fall where they may. We have parents whose children pick up attractive items and carry them around the store and then the moms ditch them just anywhere when they are ready to leave. While staffing is often an issue, in our store we all try to do our assigned jobs as well as pick up after these culprits. All the time, trying to be friendly, pleasant, and helpful. Most of us are cross-trained to be able to help out at the registers and cutting counter (our store has room for only one counter, but can cut for at least four customers at a time) when needed. I myself am a seasoned sewer and quilter. I have seen the quality of fabrics in our store improving recently, but because I sew so much I, too, do some online shopping for variety and appreciate that as an option. JoAnn’s does use secret shoppers, and we are constantly reminded that any one of our customers could be “that person”. We have scored 100% twice and 97% once
    in the past 6 months. I am sorry you all can’t come and check out our Hamden, CT store, but keep your honest comments coming, and hopefully you will see changes!

  47. Our local JoAnn’s was a nightmare when I moved into to area(Rhode Island – only 1 in the whole state!) but in the last 10 years they have moved to a new location and it has made a world of difference. The new store has space, good lighting and is a nice place to shop. I do not always find the quality of goods that I am looking for but the physical appearance is infinitely better than the old store. While they have filled over half the store with non sewing crafts and decorating items, I would be terribly upset if we were to lose this store.

  48. our Jo-Ann’s—- It’s in Topsham , ME. –and a big.beautiful store !! It used to be smaller and in Brunswick which is closer to us. The whole little strip mall was demolished a few years ago to make room for a huge Lowe’s– then the Jo-Ann’s was moved to the next town , Topsham. It’s about 30 miles away but worth the trip since I usually find just what I need !! The staff is friendly and helpful and always interested in seeing my new StudioKat bags !! The store is very clean and well- organized !!! Never had a bad experience there !!

  49. Hi – I actually own stock in Jo-Ann and the recent news is that “Jo-Ann Stores Inc. (NYSE: JAS) of Hudson is moving ahead with its $1.6 billion acquisition by a California private equity firm after a “go-shop” period did not result in any alternative acquisition proposals.”

    The new company is one that also owns Whole Foods, Petco and Neiman Marcus Groups.

    Should be interesting to see what happens after the purchase to the existing stores. My Jo-Ann is OK, not great. I usually just end up buying thread, needles, pins there and go into Philadelphia for fabric.

  50. Indeed- let’s hope they clean house and start all over with a few of these stores. there should be a LOT more consistency between JoAnn’s stores. And by the sounds of things, maybe they need to start the cleaning of the house at corporate headquarters!

  51. I live in Roseville, California. There are three Jo-Ann Stores within easy driving distance. All are clean and neat. The people working there are pleasant, helpful, friendly and overworked. Most are not experienced at sewing, but do their best or get another employee to help. The prices are good..especially using the frequent 40% to 50% off coupons. I will continue to shop at Jo-Ann. If there is a negative change, I will shop elsewhere.

  52. For what it is worth, JoAnns *IS* mystery shopped. I have declined to accept these assignments in my area because they require the shopper to review the requirements, print documentation, check and report on all departments, restroom, cash wrap (aka check out) and stand in long lines to have fabric cut at the cutting table. This obviously requires a purchase of at least fabric which is NOT reimbursed. After travel and your time in the store, you go home and spend the time to write a report and submit receipts. All this for a fee of $3.00. I can’t even get to my JoAnns store for $3.00 in gas. After purchase, it would actually cost me to perform their mystery shops. This tells me that a quality mystery shopping program is not a priority for the corporate office. By default the customer experience doesn’t really matter either.

    In our local store, the staff will actually avoid eye contact befure they turn and walk the other way if they see a customer in the same aisle. Prices with shipping are cheaper through other sources even after their riduculous coupon games. Most items are overpriced to start with but are supposedly “on sale” to bring them to nearly competitive levels; as a result, they are seldom eligible for coupons.

    It is exciting to hear that they may have new owners. For the first time in years, I am almost hopeful that things will improve.

  53. Brava Kat, way to go! Ours isn’t too bad, I mainly go there for pattern sales and some notions. Fabric selections are very limited. My fav place to go for fabric is I know of someone else who swears by Vogue Fabrics. Hot Patterns ( has a list of excellent resources. When we were in Hawaii, on Oahu, I, of course, hit the fabric stores. Not only do they keep the “good stuff” in Hawaii, the stores are realio and trulio fabric stores; no magazines, crafts, junk etc. I wanted to fall to my knees and thank the fabric gods. Yes, we have some fabric stores, but they are primarily quilt fabrics. Those of us who do sew clothing have to really search for quality fabrics. Thank heavens for the internet. —–Denise

  54. Great letter to JoAnn’s. Ours used to be understaffed, but since they remolded it, It is a very clean, well kept, and most are friendly and know what they are doing. The younger girls, learning the trade because of the tech school nearby, are Learning 🙂 Will be interested in seeing their response to you. I tried that one time and didn’t have any success. (Because of the understaffed problem and no cutter available while the others were only allowed to do the stocking).

  55. ChoctawCharliSews

    In my “closest town” they recently closed the old JoAnn’s and open a “Bigger, Brighter, Better Store”. Uh-huh. Well, the store was, but the employees didn’t change. Plus, with the bigger brighter store they didn’t hire any more employees, so finding things is TWICE as hard. The organization is as goofy as I have ever seen. Notions are nowhere NEAR the fabrics! (they put all the shelf Items together on one side of the store, crafts, books, notions, etc) I still haven’t found the patterns and pattern books! And only ONE little cutting table! I, however am a fortunate person. I have a WalMart that STILL has a pretty good Fabric department. Both cottons and Fashion! And I have a Loving Dearly Beloved that when our local Hancocks was leaving town gave me the charge card for my birthday and said “Have at it!” So, I can now do most of my shopping from my stash for probably several years! (Over $900 worth of fabric and stuff for aprox $230! What a gift!) But when I do need other stuff, I like, and because most what I need is kids fabric.

  56. I totally agree!! I was the ops manager at a JoAnn’s in Taylor, MI which closed. They didn’t care about anything but the bottomline. Shorting staff, poor quality fabric, and now the focus is on crafts, not quality fabrics. I tend to shop online now. My JoAnn’s closed in Monroe, MI and I feel sorry for the elderly sewers who need supplies. We truly need more “homegrown” shops, but the ones in my town were shut down due to competing with Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, and WalMart. It’s a shame.

  57. I live in Buffalo, NY and have a nice JoAnn’s to shop in. There are a few not so nice ones around but fortunately the closet to me is a nice, clean, well stocked store.

  58. I live in the Pittsburgh suburbs. One store in the Southland Shopping Center (in Pleasant Hills) used to be bad. It was redecorated, cleaned up and restocked a couple years ago. Most of the employees now are nice and helpful. Another in Monroeville was set up as a new store and is very nice, staff mostly neutral, not overly friendly but approachable. I do fully support your mission. For most of us this is the only game in town, there are no high end fashion fabrics in either stores in my area. However,I am lucky to live in a large city with other private stores. Good luck!

  59. I live in Northwest Pennsylvania, and really like my local Joann store. Everyone is friendly and helpful. Perhaps it’s the area/region that makes a difference. Good luck with getting resolution to your complaint.

  60. We have a JoAnn’s store about 5 miles or 15 minutes away on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington, CT. The fabric selection is typical of a craft/fabric store, with lots of fleece, lots of flannel, novelty and lower quality fabrics, usually way off-grain. The “fashion fabric” department occupies less than 1/3 of the store and aisles are so narrow that your cart brushes both sides. The remainder of the first half of the store is full of yarns, embroidery, and home dec fabrics – at least fiber arts. The remaining half of the store is made up of craft items – paint your own woodwork, papercrafting, cake dec, scrapbooking, etc. Lots of glitz, not much substance. I’m a beginning quilter, but have always been a fashion sewer, doing my own clothes for years. You cannot find decent clothing fabric at JoAnn’s – Thank goodness New York City is a relatively short distance away!! I’m amazed at the number of people who can even find interfacing there. Yes,they have the fusible fleece that you use in your handbags, but as another poster remarked, forget about sew-in. I asked one of the sales ladies once for ultra suede and she had absolutely NO IDEA of what I wss speaking. Thank goodness there are quilt shops around the area, but I really wish there was a decent Fashion fabric store in central Connecticut! Until then, it’s the internet for me! One of my favorites is

  61. Continuing from the Newington, CT post, I must also comment on the condition of the store. The staff is friendly, but not especially knowledgeable. The store, however, is a nightmare. The floor tiles are broken, never seem clean, many of the shelves are broken, prices are not clearly marked on anything except the bolt ends on the fabrics, unless the manufacturer marks its product. The organizational plastic bins, etc. are frequently half price, but since you can’t tell what the price is, you don’t know how much anything will cost till you get to the register. I will probably continue to shop for patterns and some notions, but never for important fabric.

  62. Our JoAnn’s in Diamond Bar, CA finally closed. Before they closed they hired a new manager and she really cleaned up the place and hired knowledgeable people but I guess it was just too late.

  63. well done,kat.
    I have a great store where i live in the uk but the
    proprietor is an absolute nightmare. trouble is he’s the only haberdasher
    for miles. even so, i only got here when i have to. a great online source
    i use is
    The owner is like you, helpful and
    knowledgeable and thoroughly pleasant to deal with.
    all the very best. love your new bag!!

  64. Being in Canada, I don’t get to JoAnn’s much – our equivalent here is Fabricland – and similarly, some stores are great and some so-so! Recently however, we were vacationing in Clearwater Fla., and having “snowbird” parents near there years ago, we have been down there many years – and I have visited JoAnn’s many a time – and I agree with many of the complaints found here – usually they are messy, employees not very helpful, etc. So when I dropped into a JoAnn’s near Clearwater (on US#19) a few weeks ago I was VERY PLEASANTLY surprised – the store had done a complete turn-around – spacious, clean, tidy, well stocked and very friendly staff!! I wish I could get into a store like that more often and it’s a shame more JoAnn stores aren’t like that one! I’m sure staffing these stores with knowledgable reliable staff is a diffucult task – as pay is most like min. wage and turnover is high. I know too, how customers can leave bolts of fabric and things everywhere, having worked in a fabric store – making keeping things looking neat – a never ending task! Hope more JoAnn stores can model themselves like this one I liked near Clearwater.

  65. The Tallahassee, FL store is crummy but the only store around with inventory allowing one stop shopping. My experience is always disappointing. The store appears understaffed. The lines are long and frustrating. I vow to never go back, but. I prefer Bernia for quality and knowledge of product. The service is excellent. Thanks for the opportunity to complain. Sara

  66. In some ways I am shocked, and in some ways I am not surprised at all at the responses. Thanks to everyone for sharing what the JoAnn’s in their is like. As soon as I hear from JoAnn’s regarding my letter, I will report back to you (assuming I do in fact hear from them).
    Like you, I hope that the change in ownership will produce a change in attitude.

  67. My store is in Shreveport, Louisiana and is at least 20 miles from me. I used to HATE to ask for assistance or for fabric to be cut because the cutting ladies were so mean! But, over the years, new management has taken care of the staff problem and latley (the last couple of years or so) the staff is very friendly. My main complaint with the store is that even though it looks like they have a lot of fabric, they really dont and it is the same thing over and over with each visit. It is pretty sad that the small town Wal-Mart nearby has a better selection, but they are always telling me they might be phased out. The other main complaint I have is that the store is a little dirty but the air conditioning is ALWAYS broken. In the hot summer months here in LA it is unbearable in there! Also, my store manager told me that he couldnt help me thread my serger or show me how to use it even though I bought it in the store…SERIOUSLY! I have a Hancocks down the street from Jo Anns and it isnt much better but they do have new fresh fabrics….

  68. I live in a very rural remote area near the Canadian border in Northern NY. Our Joanns is in Malone, NY. It is wonderful! It is ALWAYS clean and stocked. Theirs staff comes in a 6:00 in the morning to get the stock out before the store opens. The same help has been there for years and they are friendly and very helpful. Of course this is a town where everyone knows everyone as it is so small. They never fail to ask for help. The manager, Betty, is wonderful and has been the store manager for 16 years. She will be retiring in two months and I hate to see her go. She clearly is a wonderful manager.

    That all gets me to my point. I really think it has to do with store management. Joanns gives their managers a lot of leeway and some are just not experienced or disciplined enough to handle it.

    I have shopped at other Joanns. Another favorite is in Concord, NH. But this one in Malone really sparkles. Thank heavens! It is the only fabric/craft store for many many miles.

  69. The JoAnn in Roseburg and Springfield OR are nice stores. The employees are helpful and knowledgeable. The Roseburg store is very tiny so aisles are small, not a lot of fabric choices and they are understaffed. Probably from the computer generated staffing program posted above. The Springfield store is large Etc. or super store. I sometimes shop there when I go to Eugene. A lot more fabric but a lot more of the less desirable stuff too. Last time I was there looking for a specific print, I asked a gal if she new if they had any as I hadn’t found it and if so would she point me in the right direction. She took to the right area and went thru the bolts to be sure I hadn’t missed it. They didn’t have it 🙁

    I dislike all the junky stuff they have like the ‘As Seen on TV’ aisle for instance that take up space.

    I also dislike the fact that almost anything I want to buy is always on sale for some percentage off so coupons can’t be used. It is usually hard to use them.

    The quality is not there on most things. you can read a newspaper thru their Kona!

    I don’t make garments any more so if I’m going to spend $10 or more per yard for so so quilting fabric, I’ll go the local quilt store. Or order it online. One I like is Fabric Depot in Portland when they have 25-35% off, sometimes off everything in the store. Their shipping is less too in that they are on the same side of the country as I am. The store is an acre and a half of everything you need to make most anything you want from basic to high fashion fabric. If you can’t find what you want there, you probably don’t need it. LOL Very helpful and knowledgeable people. I bought fabric for a quilt there recently and 2 different clerks came to see what I was doing and jumped in to help choose the fabrics. I’ve called them in the past with a questions about a fabric I couldn’t find on the website and they went out on the floor to check on it for me.
    I would surely recommend them for your list of on line places to shop.

  70. Way to go and you stated your case very well! I love many others as I
    too live 95 miles from Raleigh and only have a Hancocks close by.

  71. I’m a lucky one, too, I guess. I live in Portland, OR and there are a couple Joann’s within 10 miles that are clean, generally well stocked and staffed. (Barbur & 82nd…However, I did drop in on a dingy one out in Beaverton, once, with very poor service.)

    That said, Portland is a Quilter’s paradise town with at least a dozen unique collection small quilt stores AND Fabric Depot, which all stock higher quality fabric than Joann’s. So, I very rarely get any fabric there, but do pick up notions every now and then.

  72. I used to manage Viking Sewing Galleries (4 different ones) located inside JoAnn’s, and now, I work for JoAnn’s. I can tell you, having seen a lot of them up close and personal, that the manager does, indeed, set the tone of the store. If the manager stresses customer service, then the staff will treat the customers well.
    Right now, I live in a small town, and I honestly can say that I can greet about 1/3 of our customers by name, and know many others on sight. Our customers are wonderful and extremely patient. When the lines are long at the cutting table, they take a number as soon as they come in and then shop until we page their number. Using this method, several of our customers would like the line to be longer!
    Frankly, a lot of the complaints come from things that happen at the corporate level, not at the store level. Corporate determines how many employees can work at any given time….and it’s never enough. They even set our thermostat from Ohio! Out here in the west, we don’t like overheated buildings. We keep asking them to turn down the heat and with the money they save, please let us have more staff in the store, but that falls on deaf ears.
    I don’t know the solution to the problems. More staff would be first on my list, and a higher wage would attract better people in many areas. Our employee discount is as stingy as our minimum wage scale. Raises are based on longevity, not merit.
    We do get “secret shoppers” and we just got our third 100%, so we must be doing something right. I just wish corporate management would recognize that. It would be nice to be appreciated beyond our own store manager. I don’t know who tells her how wonderful she is and what a great job she’s doing.

  73. I shop at JoAnn in Cary NC and it’s a good store. I’m a fairly patient person and always shop with a book in case of lines. The cutting counter at the Cary store makes it easy for you to do some other shopping/browsing while you wait. They call numbers over the store intercom so you can be picking out thread and zippers or getting sucked into buying another yard of fabric since you don’t have to stand by the counter all the time. The people at the register are friendly and when it’s truely backed up they’re usually able to get assistance. I would like to see more interesting things while waiting in line, it seems to be their $1 section.

    I’m glad to hear about the new management since Whole Foods and Petco seem quite well run. I worked for Borders for several years and I know what corporate management can do to a good company. When I started it was a really good customer oriented store, then we started getting more and more bizarre directive from corporate. I don’t think the people there read books, let alone shop for them! So, if non-responsive management is being taken over by a customer service oriented company at JoAnn’s that should make my good store even better. I just hope that the people who’ve been messing things up there don’t get a huge payout!

  74. As a customer, there are ways that you can make your JoAnn’s shopping experience less frustrating.

    Get a number from the cutting counter as soon as you come into the store, then shop for fabric only, until your number is called over the store paging system.

    Shop in the first or last hour of business. That’s when JoAnn’s is nearly empty,so you will rarely encounter a line.

    JoAnn’s is slowly getting better quilting fabrics. You have to look for them, and they aren’t inexpensive,but they are a lot nicer than the Keepsake fabrics. For example, compare the Legacy batiks to the Quilter’s batiks. Like night and day.

    I like to think that our JoAnn’s is one of the better ones. Even if new hires don’t do any crafting or sewing, they catch “the bug” and start doing something creative. Right now, most of the guys knit or crochet! We try to take pride in our work, but we do feel sabotaged by corporate. This week, I’ve had my work hours cut in half today,and cut tomorrow entirely….just like the rest of the staff. Corporate thinks we have too many people in the store at one time. We think corporate should take a look at the geography of our store for starters, and then at the shopping patterns of our customers. But what do I know? If there are fewer people in the store, the payroll is smaller, and the profit is larger, so everyone gets a bonus, except the people on the front line who each have to do twice as much work because we’re short staffed.

    As for the new owners. I can only hope that the affiliation with Neiman Marcus might result in better uniforms. In the business world, green is the color of conservatism. We sell creativity. We should be wearing a different color!

  75. Hmmm- I can see where your suggestion about taking a number when you arrive at JoAnn’s would seem like a good one, and my joAnn’s has one of those numbering systems, and inexplicably, choosing not to use it……. what more can I say?

  76. I live in a small town NW of Portland, OR and have to drive at least 20 miles to find a fabric store. The JoAnn’s store in Longview, WA is a nightmare; long lines at all hours of the day and night, poor customer service, crabby and neglectful staff and horrendous lines at the cutting tables. I mainly go there for the pattern sales and notions when I need them. The store used to be much smaller in a hideaway location. At that time the store was filthy, poorly lit and poorly’ staffed. There were boxes blocking the aisles and never an employee able to help with simple questions. Now they have moved to a larger store in an easy to get to location but nothing has changed; still crabby staff who are well-versed in avoidance, dirty aisles and dusty shelves and an overall depressing environment. I have been greatly disappointed that the store focuses on a little of every craft with not enough of any one thing. I even tried driving to Hillsboro, OR to the newer Superstore and found the store itself cleaner but the staff and the overall environment in the store is pitiful. I have never heard so much “customer bashing” and complaints about management in my life! I am so glad that I can visit the smaller quilting shops and Fabric Depot for fabric purchases. I no longer choose to shop at JoAnn’s for anything other than patterns.

  77. Oregon City, Oregon JoAnn’s used to be a friendly store until the surly ex-military woman became a manager there. She is downright mean sometimes and belittles people when they ask a question about where something is located as though people that come in there should know where everything is because she does. The store was remodeled and everything has been rearranged. I happened to be in the store when there were some corporate managers that came through and you should have seen how her demeanor had changed. She said she was going to even bake them a cake!!!!! LOL!!! Were they ever fooled by her!!!There used to be some wonderful people that worked there and there are a few mixed in but for the most part the nice ones have stopped wanting to deal with the surly ones and their comrads. There were a couple of other managers or supervisors that left because of this loud overbearing personality. I used to love to go in there almost every day but now I avoid it unless I definitely have a crucial need to go there. I am always hoping she is gone when I do go there. If I have a chance to go to one of the larger super stores in Portland, Oregon I try to. Fabric Depot is a great store and is owned by the people that used to have Fabricland but they got bought out and now have only one store. Fabricland was the greatest! The owner (now his wife) of Fabric Depot was and is one of the nicest people of any owner/manager there could possibly be. Too bad for the rest of the country but there is only one Fabric Depot but they don’t want what happened before to happen to them again. House of Fabric bought them out and then JoAnn’s bought House of Fabric out. I guess that is the way with corporations. Fabric Depot is a private company now. I sure wish they were a little closer to where we live. I am also thankful there are some wonderful quilt shops nearby, as Lettetia mentioned.

  78. joan p. clemeneton, nj

    My Joanns in Deptford and Marlton NJ are pigstys with chintzy fabric. I started sewing when I was in grade school.There were so many Mom and Pop fabric stores around then .Iused to walk to the fabric stores[no money] just to see and touch the fabrics and the people were so nice. They understood my love for fabric.All of those stores were put out of business by the Jo anns with their cheap,cheap,cheap quality fabrics. I’m 72 years old and I feel sorry for the newer sewers who have never had an opportunity to see and sew with fabulous fabrics. I’ve stopped sewing clothing because I won’t invest the time and money into sewing with inferior{not cheap] fabrics. I am trying my hand at quilting but if I am going to pay $10.00for a yard of fabric its going to be top quality fabric from a quilt shop that going to make my heart go pitty pat. I’ve never seen so much junk as I see when I walk into a Joanns store. Maybe the new owners will get rid of the crafts and turn it into a good fabric shop. One can only hope.

  79. I shop at the Joann’s in Dickson City PA. They are all very friendly there, although you have to know when to shop if you want to find someone who has decent sewing knowledge. They just re-modeled, and it is very bright and mostly friendly. My only complaint is that they don’t stock a lot of the high-end quilt fabrics. I have to go about 60 miles to find a decent quilting store that carries the nicer fabrics. I imagine they just don’t sell in that market. Same with dance fabrics. I’ve resorted to shopping online for those, as the selection at Joann’s is minimal. I would be lying if I said I didn’t love to shop there though!

  80. It seems to me that JoAnns has lost their customer focus. We sew, we love fabric, we browse gadgets and notions. We browse and dream of new projects and ideas and a fabric store should be like a candy store to us. Most JoAnns have a very small amount of fabric now, and no displays of what things look like made out of their fabric. Almost like they sell fabric as a sideline. When I go to a fabric store it is to buy fabric and notions, not all the other stuff. I can shop anywhere for the seasonal crap they stuff the store with. I feel like they are truly missing the boat here, they are a FABRIC store, and for the most part the only game in town. Personally, I can and do put up with long lines, and no service, and unusable coupons, but I just can’t imagine why they have so little fabric. I find it hard to buy fabric online, I need to touch and feel, and see the fabric to be inspired. I love to see beautiful displays, and completed projects for me it is very inspiring. Even with all of the stores now corprate “pretty” they have very little fabric!

  81. Back in the day…House of Fabrics! That’s when a fabric store was a fabric store. I worked there as a 20 year old (I knew my stuff, my mother taught me to sew when I was 7). In comes JoAnn. As the interest in sewing declined fabric stores had to bring in other shoppers and thus the addition of all the non-fabric ‘stuff’ found in JoAnn stores. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a crafter. I love to knit but I’m a yarn snob and JoAnn yarn doesn’t cut it for me. I don’t scrapbook but there are millions who do so perhaps JoAnn fits the bill for scrappers. I don’t indulge in the beading craze but it seems JoAnn has much to offer. However, for a die hard jewelry crafter I’ll bet JoAnn is not their first choice. So my question is… what is all the other crap JoAnn fills their space with? Holiday decorations sold at 75% off after the holiday, furniture in a box, I could go on. Why do they take up the valuable space with that stuff when they could be stocking and selling MORE FABRIC and better quality items. Why, because people buy it. There is new interest in sewing, awesome fabrics, cool patterns (“STUDIO KAT!”) and just so many things to make and so little time. Have you taught your children to sew? And not just your daughters. No more Home Ec in schools, how stupid is that? Merchandisers will stock and sell what people buy. Consumer demand rules. The best way to change JoAnn is get to the top with letters. The kind of letters that require a stamp. Letters on paper (blogs/Internet help too but there is nothing like the CEO having mailbags full of letters from unhappy consumers. Letters are tangible. JoAnn is a publicly-held corporation traded on the American Stock Exchange under the name of Fabri-Centers of America, Inc. and if you are interested read: Leonard Green Offers $1.6 Billion for Jo-Ann Stores. Consumers have power, we need to use it.
    AS quoted in this article: “We are excited about the prospect of working with Leonard Green & Partners as we further capitalize on opportunities to accelerate the expansion and upgrade of our stores and pursue market share gains,” Darrell Webb, chairman and chief executive of Jo-Ann Stores, said in a statement. “With the help of our talented and dedicated team, we will continue to offer our customers a superior shopping experience for all of their fabric and craft needs.” This is important folks, this is the consumers opportunity to tell JoAnn what we want and where we will shop. So lets pause our sewing for a few minutes, find a stamp and send the message to:
    Leonard Green & Partners, L.P.
    11111 Santa Monica Boulevard
    Suite 2000
    Los Angeles, CA 90025

    310. 954. 0444 Phone
    310. 954. 0404 Fax

  82. My quilting group has stopped shopping at the JoAnn’s in Waterford, CT. Among other reasons, we are not allowed to use the restrooms but are rather sent next door to the One Dollar Store.
    Totally unacceptable. We are so lucky to have a wonderful quilt store, That’sSewDebbie in Groton, CT and no longer have to rely on JoAnn’s for fabric.

  83. My biggest complaint with Joann’s is the poor quality of their quilting fabric, apparel fabric, interfacing (almost all Pellon products) and “silk” florals. I find it very disapointing that a chain store of this size can’t seem to sell quality merchandise at a reasonable price. I rarely buy anything from Joann’s anymore except their notions. It is my belief that the crap they sell is marketed towards “weekend” crafters and sewers who don’t realize that the quality of the materials they are buying are subpar. Most of the Joann’s in my area (Chicago suburbs) are clean and relatively well staffed with reasonably polite employees, so I can’t complain about that aspect of Joann’s.

  84. I live in a small city with no Joanns, so I travel to either the Sandusky, OH or Fremont, OH stores. The Fremont store is very nice, and their sales people are wonderful too! However, the larger Sandusky store…very rude salespeople, including their manager, and you have to wait forever to get waited on! I normally go to Fremont, but they have a limited stock, so if I need something they don’t have, off to the nasty Sandusky store I go! They ought to fire everyone in Sandusky and start over:) I sew for a living and believe sales people should at least know something about that profession!

  85. Unless you have worked retail, you can never completely understand it. A few things to consider… 1) A very experienced sewer probably wants to make more than minimum wage, which is what most retail pays. 2) So, the people that are interested in making minimum wage are usually the younger crowd that are trying to get through college, etc. 3)Look at the retail location and the products they sell… do they sell items that retail for a large average sale for the business? When they are selling just a spool of thread, or a needle, it does not add up…. Hence, they can not afford to have excessive amounts of employees… like Best Buy that sells massive televisions, etc. I am not saying that you should not expect good service, but sometimes looking at the economics of the situation will reveal why some of the problems exist.

  86. The rules that Joann has for the employees have to be the worse.
    The place sucks I just started working their and it is the most disorganized, filthy store. However the employee’s do work their asses off. Most are just trying to get through the day with out making a mistake. No one in their right mind would work there if they didn’t need the job.

  87. No one in their right mind would work there if they didn’t need the job …. this really bothers me. I just submitted an application there.

  88. I work at a store in NJ and I can honestly say that some of the employees will go out of their way to make people happy. I am one of them. I’ve been there for over 10 years and have to say that in the past few years it has gone downhill. With corporate making so many new rules, hiring people who don’t have the basic knowledge of sewing or crafting, hiring people at the min wage and expecting them to jump through hoops. It’s ridiculous! The managers we have now don’t care about anything but the money in their pocket, they walk around and ignore the customers all the time. Heck none of then know anything about fabrics, how to read a pattern or even help with what thread you need for an embroidery machine! If I could find another job I would leave, however I’m stuck at a job where my managers hate me. The only plus is that I like helping people with their projects and I love my regulars who come in just so I can help them. I understand the dislike of the cranky workers. The customers hear them while they are shopping, but I have the honor of hearing them complain for the length of my shift. It is annoyinng. Skeleton staff, low pay, you are worked almost to the point of passing out on occasion, all for what? So the STL who does ziltch gets his quarterly bonus fr how great a job he has done! Take it from me….DON’T WORK FOR JOANNS its not worth it.

    • AnonymousNovember 5, 2012 12:39 AM

      I agree with all you stated, worked at one of the stores in the DC/MD/Va ares. They stack the stores with empolyees with NO sewing experience even managers. They will watch & let customers at the cutting table stand in line for minutes….their concept is that managers & so called key holders do no wait on customers.

    • It breaks my heart every time my manager starts cutting hours so he can get his monthly bonus. I work at a store in Jackson,TN and we have two REALLY good managers who absolutely LOVE this company and are passionate about our store, but they have to follow the orders from a guy who couldn’t care less. I wish there was a way to improve things; but what can a part time, minimum wage employee do? I just smile and push on and take comfort in the fact that my customers love my peppy attitude. It makes my job worthwhile.

      • Thanks so much for weighing in! I think its very obvious that the BIG problems at JoAnn’s begins at the corporate level. What they need is a few sewists on the board of directors, no?

        • Definitely they need some people who sew on their board of directors! I can’t imagine someone managing a store like that who doesn’t understand their clients.

          And, not to be picky, but FYI if you write another letter– you wrote “you probably could care less” and it should be “you probably couldn’t care less”. To say you could care less means just that–you could care–but what most people really mean is that it is irrelevant to that person, or that they “couldn’t care less”. It’s a common mistake and honestly, I’m not trying to be picky–but you asked. 🙂 Good letter, though, and your points are certainly valid. You’ve given corporate specific things that they could understand –not just “I hate Joann’s”.

          I can totally understand your frustration and ‘last straw’ feelings.

          We’ve traveled around at in the US. I’ve been in several Joann’s that were fine. Indianapolis, IN seemed like a good one and the one in Lakeland, FL has always had helpful employees. That is the one that I visit the most when we go back to the states since it is closer to my parents than any other one. We did stop in one in KS (near the freeway–where the two major freeways join–I 70 and the interstate heading south–can’t really remember the town without looking at a map, but it was part of a mall). They didn’t open on time and I was at the store, waiting to get in at the time indicated. It frustrated me as we were travelling on our way somewhere and my husband was in the car waiting–I had asked him to delay our trip so I could stop by and check for some fabric I was looking for–we aimed to get to the store at 9 so I could hop in there and check on this.

          I thought it very unprofessional not to open when they said they would.

          My biggest beef with Joann’s is their putting a yard of $12/yard fabric on sale for $1/yard off and acting like it is a “sale”.

  89. Live in Overland Park Kansas and I hate Joann’s I refuse to shop there and haven’t for several years! They are mean and rude, the store is dirty and un organized! The craft crap and junk holiday stuff is everywhere I hate it! I love to sew clothes the fabric is cheep and ugly! Found better fabrics on line!

  90. Linda Lee Steaples

    Wow I thought I was the only one that didn’t like my shopping experiences at Joann’s I live in a small town in Texas and I have to drive 30 to 45 mins to get to a fabric store the Joann’s in Webster Texas is a huge dump. I have gone and shopped around for hours to finally get to cutting table with a line of very unhappy workers and costumers… One cutting table for a super store is just stupid, the isles are so full of baskets of stuff never put away and so much junk to go through that you almost never find what you need. Check out is just a nightmare. Also they almost NEVER HAVE WHAT IS POSTED IN THERE AND which is so very frustrating and the phone coupons NEVER EVER WORK IN THE STORE I THANK THEY PURPOUSLY BLOCK SIGNAL SO THE COUPONS CAN WORK. Sewing is very expensive and saving on things is a must for most people now days. It’s so sad that it’s all about money to them now. I refuse to go back there. As for workers they are they most UNHAPPY PEOPLE I HAVE EVER MET IN MY LIFE, UNGREATFUL TO HAVE A JOB when most are losing there’s all over the country. I truly hope this works and they will listen to the people that need them most!!!!!!!!! Thanks to StuidoKat for starting this rant!!!!!!!!

    • Actually; the scanners we use are outdated. If there is any makeup, scratches, or smudges on the screen they will not scan. However, there is a long line of numbers under the bar code on all of our coupons. If the cashier enters that number in manually then the coupon will go through. Perhaps if you offer to read that code off for them it might speed the process along.

  91. I am ever so thankful that my JoAnn’s in Annapolis MD is a wonderful store. It is so always fully stocked and I have never gone there when I couldn’t find a lot of things that I wanted. Its kind of like my highlight of the day anytime I get to go there. We do have another JoAnns nearby as well. Story is not the same at that store.

  92. I have had both good and bad experiences at JoAnn’s. My first experience with JoAnn’s was in New Orleans where I “happened” upon the store and it was going out of business. That was probably the best stocked and had the most congenial salespeople of any since. A shame it wasn’t flourishing. Later, one opened in my hometown of Hattiesburg, Ms. Stocking was okay, but the salespeople were not knowledgeable and didn’t really care to be. It soon went under. I moved to Fayetteville, NC and again had a JoAnn’s. This was a very nice store with pleasant, knowledgeable people. However, it was becoming apparent that JoAnn’s was trying to cover the market on too many different aspects of sewing and crafting and falling short in all areas (trying to be Michael’s with fabric). I also had a chance to visit a store in Bryan, TX. This was probably the best fabric stock and nicest personnel I had encountered in a while. But, again too little of too many different types of merchandise. I now live in Okeechobee, Florida and have to shop in Stuart/Jensen Beach. The JoAnn’s store there is like all the others, too much and too little. The quality of merchandise has diminished over the years as they move into other areas of crafting. Please if you are a fabric store then for goodness sake stock fabric. There are enough sewers and quilters out here to justify this. It is so frustrating when you have to go from store to store, town to town, to buy supplies for your hobbies, small businesses, etc. I would rather spend my travel time searching the web for what I need than be disappointed every time I need something and can’t find it at the “fabric” stores.

  93. I shop at the JoAnn store in Augusta, Georgia. It is true that they are understaffed and under stocked. However, I have continued to shop there. Yesterday I had a coupon for 60% off sewing notions, so I decided to shop. I purchased buttons and thread only to find out that those items were not continued sewing notions. The cashier even admitted that the coupon was misleading. There was a list of items that were excluded, but I did not purchase any of those items. I have an excellent Hobby Lobby here, so yesterday’s experience just solidified my decision to move my business there.

  94. While living in Texas in the 1980’s, I worked for a wonderful fabric store, Cloth World. They were bought out by JoAnn’s. I was so sorry to see that. (I had quit before that happened, fortunately). Our manager had us vacuum the carpeted area every day, and mop the tile floors, too. The fabric was replaced on the tables after cutting as quickly as possible. We even helped customers who got “stuck” on a project; imagine that!

    After moving to Albuquerque, NM, a friend of mine was working for JoAnn’s. She told me she wanted to help customers who had questions about sewing problems, and was instructed NOT to do so, by the management!

  95. The employees in the Sandusky, OH store usually are downright rude & act like it’s an imposition to wait on you! It’s always been this way. No smiling faces either. However the store 20 min. away in Fremont, OH is the total opposite! Their employees go out of their way to help you and are NOT nasty. So you can guess which store I shop at…Fremont!

  96. The store in Sioux Falls, SD is always clean and very busy. They usually have enough staff, but not enough of them know how to cut fabric correctly. I often come home with fabric that is cut crooked or too short. They usually have around 3 at the cutting table and there can be a long wait. I also noted that the thread is not of the quality it used to be, and I agree with another comment on here that there is always an abundance of fleece but not enough high end fabrics. The check out line is the same as all the others, snaked around aisles and never enough employees at the registers.
    I have found that the Hancock Fabrics Store just a few blocks away, has good quality material and sometimes a better selection, shorter lines and friendly, helpful staff so I started going there instead.

  97. Our Fort Walton Beach Florida store is very good and their long time employees are friends and fellow quilters. We are lucky I would say so they are not all bad. Location is a factor as I was in the Greensboro NC store and it wasn’t as nice.

  98. I am a employee at JoAnn’s. I love working here and it is the first job I’ve ever been happy at. I try to be very happy and bright. I recognize our regular guest and try to be as friendly as possible to everyone I meet. I worked hard enough to be hired on permanently, by popular demand actually.I have a lot of ideas on how to improve our store. However, I am disappointed that I am limited to checking people out and unable to do anything to improve customer service. I wish I could train employees and give them the advice I had to learn the hard way. But I’ve gotten in trouble for simply guiding new employees on a tour around the store. I think the reason the service in JoAnns sucks is because we have NO training program. When I was hired I had never worked a register, I had never shopped in the store; and I had never sewn, knitted,quilted, or scrap booked before( I still can’t) I was thrown to the job and left to learn from the school of hard knocks. Lucky for them I am a quick learner and I love working with people. However I think I would have been better off if someone at least took the time to explain our policy’s to me or at least shown me how to sew a stitch or two. The next time you enter a JoAnn’s bear this in mind… Although their are a few bad apples in our company most of us are trying our absolute best with the tools we’ve been given

  99. JoAnn, JoAnn, where do I start? I have been sewing for 35 years, with most of my shopping done there. However, today was the last straw and I will be moving my business to a nearby Hobby Lobby and a further away Hancocks. It will be worth the drive to avoid going to JoAnn.
    I would love to think that corporate will read these posts, however, that is highly doubtful. With a daughter employed in retail, I have learned that a store with problems like JoAnn’s trace a specific path. Crabby employees are caused crabby managers and crabby managers are cause by crabby district managers, etc. Throw in stupid store policies and NO training, all a result of a poorly run corporation, and voila’ you have a store like JoAnn. So thankful I near Dayton OH and have other choices!

    • Believe it or not, when this post first ran, I actually did get a response from JoAnn…but the bottom line is, that I can detect NO change in my local JoAnn’s. It’s just horrible. 🙁

  100. I shop at the Joann Fabrics in Elkhart, IN. Where do I start. I always wait to have fabric cut, then more waiting for the clerk to get to the register to check the customers out. While observing other customers, they roll their eyes in frustration. While waiting in line to get material cut, I have asked if there was anyone else to help cut material, and the answer was no. One person to cut material, and no number system, so you have to stay in line. If a customer needs assistance, good luck getting your material cut. I have had a clerk not even look at me, let alone smile at me, before cutting my material. I have started to go to Joann’s only if I can’t find what I need elsewhere in the area. My brother needed a special piece of fabric from this store. I told him exactly what to ask for, which he did. The clerk said they didn’t have it! I went there and purchased the material the next day! It was easy to locate. I mentioned to a clerk about always waiting and how inefficient the store was, she said the upper management didn’t care!! I could continue on…..

  101. When Joann’s was in Spencer, Iowa they had a really nice store with employees who knew what was going on but that store was closed when they closed a big share of their stores. Since then I have never been in a Joann’s that I didn’t get frustrated with. I shop all over Iowa so I do check out different stores and it just seems to be the same thing at them all. Not enough help, the help they do have doesn’t know what they are doing, long lines at cutting table and checking out and crabby employees. I have been in the one in Mason City, Sioux Falls, SD, Mankato, MN, and Ames, IA to name just a few. That being said I would like to ask corporate headquarters, “would you take your car to a mechanic that didn’t know what he was doing?”

  102. As a former employee of JoAnns I must tell you that we receive very little or NO training before getting put on the sales floor. (we are required to watch a video). We work a shift with only three people, and often without even a 15 minute break. You can not imagine the amount of work we are expected to do in a “timed” manner. All of this for very little pay. If are told not to let customer take up too much of our time with their questions. I once helped a customer, who wanted to know about thread, before i punched back in from my lunch break…..I was “written up” for it. It is just a terrible place to work. Awful pay, awful management, awful hours……..

  103. I’ve been to several Joann’s–one on Coon Rapids, Mn; one in Maple Grove, Mn; one in Elk River, Mn; one in St Cloud, Mn; one in Mankato, Mn; and one in Hutchinson, Mn. I currently live in South Dakota–the closest store is in Sioux Falls which is about an hour away. The worst stores in this bunch are the Hutchinson and Elk River stores–but for different reasons. The Hutchinson store is old, shabby, and small. I don’t bother with that one anymore. The Elk River store, on the other hand, is new. My experience with them was for a return of a couple bolts of fabric. They were uncut, had the receipt, were verified, and the manager on duty would only give me in-store credit for about $150 because if I wanted a check, I’d had have to contact Corporate. I was so angry when I left that store! That experience was a long story cut short. The St Cloud store is Ok. Ever since they did their updated image, it seems like all you do is wait, and half the time you can’t find what you’re looking for. The other stores are quite nice–I don’t mind them. Drawbacks for Joann’s in general: they are all understaffed. I think that’s why the staff can be rather cranky–you have this huge store and you might only find about 4 people working the entire thing. Their fabric is over-priced, their coupons cumbersome (especially if you have to drive any distance to get to a store), quality of goods is Ok–I’ve taken to buying from my local quilt shop–for a couple dollars more per yard, you can get much nicer fabrics. The other practice they started doing that drives me nuts is measuring everything down to the inch. I’ve gotten shorted more times than not. They will say that’s how every fabric store does it. That may be so, but I don’t seem to get shorted anywhere else. I will say, Joann’s is a crafting store, not necessarily a sewing store for the serious sewer. I don’t ask for help with much there because I can guarantee you I know more than most of their help–including where to find things. I’ve taken to shopping more at Hancock Fabrics and my local sources but I still go to Joann’s. I spose old habits die hard but I also don’t have all kinds of options. I will look forward to hearing about others’ experiences with on-line companies. I’m such a hands-on person that it’s hard for me to look at pictures on-line and make decisions but that may be the direction I have to go.

  104. I guess I am pretty much one of the lucky ones. I really can’t say that I have had a bad experience at JoAnnes. I have to drive about 40 miles to get to one. There are 2 in Des Moines, IA, and they both have some good points and some bad points just as any other retail store. I can’t afford to buy fabric at the quilt shops so when I go I make it count. I was in Colorado Springs and they have one of the biggest JoAnnes stores that I have ever been in. It is hard to get someone to help you usually because they are all understaffed, but that is not always a bad thing.

    • My bride and I shopped at the one in Colorado Springs, CO for 3.5 years. It was a good store but very busy. The wait for cutting on a busy day could be upwards of an hour.

      Regardless, we miss the store as it was large, stocked, and well-maintained.

      Other JoAnns we have been to around the country: not so much.

  105. Our JoAnn’s in Grants Pass, OR, is only a year or so old. It is clean and the employees are cheerful and helpful. (Maybe that’s because it’s so hard to get a job around here.) I dealt with a manager one day and found him helpful.

    I think the quality of JoAnn’s own brand of fabric isn’t very good, though. Their fabric quality went down when they got their own name brand. It’s just as good as Walmart’s fabric was, though. We have a local quilt shop that has much nicer fabric at much higher prices. JoAnn’s does have more clothing fabric.

    I, too, think JoAnn’s quality went down when they started trying to be a craft store. However, in this small town it’s the only craft store, so I’m glad to have it. In several nearby towns, there is a Craft Warehouse next door to JoAnn’s. Is that the same company?

  106. Our Joann’s in Lakewood, NY is a much needed store in our area. We are fortunate to have a clean store with a pretty decent staff. They are usually short on employees though, which makes one practice patience when shopping there. Please realize this is not their fault. I don’t think it matters how much we complain because I’m certain complaints fall on deaf ears. I shop pretty much everywhere, and online a lot as well. It just depends on what I need of course.
    I was at Joann’s last week one day and there was no one at the cutting table. I saw two employees when I walked in the store, one was on the register and the other one disappeared. Needless to say, I walked out that day without the fabric or anything else. I went back 4 days later and bought what I needed then. Obviously, I finally got waited on.
    I suggest we educate ourselves before we go in there since we can’t expect the employees to be knowledgeable. After all, it’s hard to get good help these days. 🙂

  107. JFAP / Lynnwood WA Joann's

    Wow, Joann’s is not consistent in their stores, I see, after reading the comments, and most are not good. I am lucky that the one near me in Lynnwood is a good store, a super store, I think. Another one nearby was recently upgraded from the dim mess it was to a well-lit and better organized store. Most of the people in the fabric section seem to know a little about sewing and/or quilting. My complaint is that the quality of their fabric is not the best, rather thin. If I’m planning on a good quilt for someone, I’ll go to a quilt fabric store. It is too bad that this franchise is not consistent from coast to coast.

  108. I live in western NY and the 2 JoAnn’s I have shopped at here aren’t too bad but I do prefer to shop online or go to a local quilt shop. People ask me how I can buy fabric online and get an accurate color match, but most online retailers have very high quality photos and I’m seldom disappointed. There are things I go to Joann’s for such as notions, and sometimes I need something last minute, so I am glad they are there. It is too bad that they don’t hire experienced quilters/sewers. It would certainly help the experience we get at Joann’s. My biggest pet peeve- they still use scissors to cut the fabric and you end up with very crooked cuts!

  109. The Joann’s in Vestal, NY is a train wreck! It is in such disarray that it is impossible to find anything, or even know where to go to begin looking! And don’t ask an employee, because they really don’t have a clue! I try to never go there, but out of necessity have ventured in there a few times in the last few months, only to come out with nothing but frustration. They seldom have what I am looking for, and really don’t seem to care! I have had to resort to online shopping! It is a sad state when Joann fabrics can not accommodate the needs of area sewers!

  110. The JoAnn’s in Galena, IL is really nice. Clean, organized, etc. However, finding an employee is difficult. JoAnn’s in Niles, IL not bad as they remodeled a couple of years ago, and they always seem well staffed.

    The issue with JoAnn’s and other chain retailers is the same: they pay crap wages which doesn’t enable them to hire people that care enough to do the job right. They are able to discount their product because they pay crap wages. If they paid better, they would need to raise prices to offset the increase in wages and maintain their profit margins. The question is, are you willing to pay more for better service and product? If yes, then don’t shop at JoAnn’s or any other retailer like them. I could name a whole bunch of retailers that treat their employees like crap and pay crap.

  111. I am VERY partial to where I shop. I have worked as a INFORMED and was a knowledgeable employee at both JoAnn Fabrics and at Walmart here in my town. It’s all we have to shop at. WM got rid of their fabrics here as well. Our JoAnns is a larger store but it is NOT a all sewing stocked store. Many JoAnns are stocked with the craft side of needs as well but not FULLY stocked in any respect. There is no way to FULLY stock any store with ALL you would ever want to purchase. (as much as we all would love that) My biggest suggestion is right on here. Let the HOME offices know what’s going on in your store. The local managers can’t or won’t seem to get the word across to the higher ups on any level of these corporations or any other corp office. and customers are the only ones who can make a change in MY opinion! WRITE YOUR LETTERS and send them in people. Be nice about it but be firm on your complaints as well. Corp offices need to know what it is that gripes you!

  112. Did you ever hear back from Joanne’s corporate, Kathy? The Joanne’s near me is OK. The store is clean and the staff is friendly but my biggest complaint is that they are understaffed. I’ve been in on a Saturday afternoon and they’ll have like 3 people (that I can find) staffing the whole store.

  113. Our local Joann’s Fabric is a fabulous place. The store is spotless, always full stocked, has employees on the floor that can actually help their customers. The girls who work at the cutting tables are always knowledge and helpful.This store always has the latest fabrics and crafts. It’s a pleasure to shop there.

  114. I am a fortunate one who has 3 Joann’s superstores and one smaller store all with-in 15 miles from my house.

    I agree with several comments as well as disagree with others.
    I am disappointed as well with customer service, knowledge, and quality of fabrics.

    First mistake Joann’s made was getting into the craft areas! That has cut back on fabric, and pattern selections. But has cut down the pleasure of shopping there.

    I am retired now from school system, but did work in a craft store 20 years ago.. Therefore my comments are appropriate from first hands on experience.

    By Joann’s adding crafts this has brought into the stores more shoppers who let screaming whining children run around unsupervised.. I have seen the same beloved children destroy packages, open crafts dump stuff on floor and walk away. Sometimes parents come and find the mess the child has created just calls the kid away, and leaves the mess. Hence some of the mess in stores. Wake up parents..
    For some crazy reason today children are not kept in carts can’t be corrected or disciplined, or the horror of horrors a hand slap on a butt.Due to it might hurt their ego or feelings. I am happy to be getting older I hate to see what will happen when these monsters we are creating take over.

    As shoppers who want to keep our stores nice we must pitch in and help out. Do not just leave something you changed your mind about by just laying somewhere. Trust me cashiers would be happy to take the item and put it in returns basket to be put away properly. and please please please mind your children. As a customer I for one have spoken to baldy behaving children or given stern looks at them. They stop. what they are doing usually go find mommy or daddy. Speak up let other customers know your shopping experience is being ruined by their child. So what if parent gets mad and say something back. If more people tell them maybe it will sink in.

    I usually buy on line or in quilt shops. It is just shipping cost are so high. If vendors read this maybe someone can explain why “Handling Charges” are added to shipping. If I was in the store your person helping me doesn’t charge me handling fees to check out. Say I buy a pattern for 12.00 then add another 5-8 dollars to mail it to me and it is in an envelope that probably only cost 3.00 max to mail. Now I have spent 17-20 dollars for a pattern. I see more and more are offering patterns done via email or downloading from site. I don’t mind it. I can print out a lot for 5 -8 dollars worth of paper ink and tape to piece patterns together. I for one don’t like to cut my patterns, I trace them anyway. It avoids lost pieces.

    Lets all work together to help our stores working right. If you see something on the floor pick it up don’t be afraid to say something to a child destroying packages. They only usually run to who ever they are suppose to be with. You don’t have to be nasty to the child you can say honey please don’t open that or could you please pick up the thing you dropped and put it away. As the saying goes it takes a village to raise a child.

    • I have to say, I work at a Joann’s in Indiana and I am in love with what you said. Too often we have product destroyed because of marauding children but we are encouraged to not say anything to them because it might upset the parents, who are the real shoppers. While I don’t expect any customer to come along and pick items up off the floor or scold someone’s child, I do want to encourage those shoppers with children to please pay attention to them as much as possible.

  115. I work at a Joann’s in Indiana, and I do want to apologize for everyone who has unsatisfactory experiences at their nearby stores. I’d like to think that my store is one of the better ones (especially compared to some of the others I’ve heard about, both on this site and from customers), but I know we aren’t 100% all the time. While I’m not trying to make excuses for employees who seem like they don’t want to be there, I will say that for a company that is suppose to be inspiring and crafty, Joann’s is a company full of rules that seem to be constantly changing, sometimes for no apparent reason and usually in a way we believe will make customers unhappy. And for the amount of work that typically needs to go into running a store, especially a large or super store, there usually aren’t enough employees throughout the day. That in turn makes us cranky. That being said, there is no excuse for horrible service and I do sympathize.

    Also, for the person that commented on how Joann’s mistake was getting into the craft side of the business….on the one hand I agree, because it does take a lot of space away from fabric, patterns, etc. However, I think what happened was a lot of customers would ask if we had items to make accessories for the apparel they were making, or yarn to make a scarf to wear along with it, etc. This caused the company to branch out to appease a wider customer base. It’s a situation of doing or not doing something to make one group happy, even though it might make another group unhappy. So even if you were happy about just having fabric and patterns, there would then be people out there clamoring for scrapbooking or jewelry supplies.

    And I won’t lie – I’m one of those employees that doesn’t know a thing about sewing or quilting. When I got hired with Joann’s, it’s because the company I was working for was going out of business and I needed to find a new job fast, and they offered me similar hours and pay. So I definitely didn’t get a job there because of my passion for crafting; however, if someone asks me a question about something I’m unsure of, I don’t just tell them I don’t know or shrug them off. I will ask other associates, or direct them to someone I know will be sure of an answer because in my store we all generally know who gets into what crafts. Also, in my store lately, they have been trying to only hire people with at least some sewing experience, and are beginning to train other employees on basics, like reading a pattern. I think that will really help a lot.

  116. Anonymous in Calif.

    Interesting to read this entire page of comments. I have shopped at Joann’s for 20+ years, and Fabricland, and So-Fro fabrics in the same locations (in some cases) before they were taken over. I definitely felt I was served better in the old stores, even Joann’s. All fabric stores used to cut you an extra inch of your whole yardage cut to be sure you got a full and straight quantity you paid for. They rarely cut straight or give you the full quantity now; would be better on woven fabrics to go back to the snip and rip method…faster too. I’m sure many of you remember the machine they would pass the fabric edge through, with the spinning dial for measuring the fabric, and when at the correct figure would make the snip on the edge. I’ve shopped in 4 Calif. stores in recent years: Modesto (older small, crowded, mainly nice employees, some who know sewing, great manager who happens to be a man). Manteca (new store, bright and spacious, some nice, but a few impossible employees, don’t know the manager, only local store with a few classes). Elk Grove & Rocklin – similar (superstore, clean & bright, nice enough but inexperienced employees, only a few experiences here).
    My reason for responding is to tell of a couple of experiences in Manteca’s 2 year old superstore.
    1st trip: difficult employee @ cut counter. I typically buy the whole bolt, or some yardage and get the “end of bolt” yardage for half off (under a yard piece, since it goes to the remnants bin for that price). She did not scan the yardage in as “end of bolt”, on any but one of the 9-10 bolts I got, so the register sent me back to have her re-scan and print the receipt. I politely asked her why it was done wrong, she said “you must request end-of-bolt discount on each and every bolt”, even as you are standing there. Next trip, I got the same lady, same problem…stated up front “for ALL bolts I buy, I want the “end-of-bolt” discount”, to which she said “you must ask it each time I cut another bolt”! Which started a calm, but irritating argument between us, as to why she couldn’t remember to apply that to the 5 bolts I had that day. She said it was “corporate policy”, and anyone not doing so should be fired. Pretty much this was the beginning of me hating this store. I spend a lot of money @ Joann’s, and a room full of fabric and notions to prove it. What happened to customer service, and a polite and friendly employee? What a witch she was in front of the whole waiting line at the counter. How can this possibly help anyone who really sews, to like this store/company?
    3rd trip: One day after carefully picking out a basket full of notions (50% off sale), I took my 4 trims to the cutting counter with only 1 person ahead of me, it seemed like a great day! The customer did have a pile of 10 fabrics, but I am a patient person, and then the 1 employee @ the cut counter left to help her find more fabric…for 10 minutes. While the line grew, another employee stopped to chat with a friend in the line, and I asked if she could cut my 4 trims (a couple of snips). She said no, she was “teaching a class”. So she chatted another 5 minutes before returning to her “teaching” duty. Another employee arrived at the cut counter (now to a line of 10 or more), only to say she was working the register, so couldn’t help, then left. After another 20 minutes (still 2nd in line), I just walked out; looking to the registers where 3 were standing with no one in line at all! Is someone brain dead here? Why wouldn’t the employee returning to the register not mention the line at the cut counter? Why didn’t the cut counter lady call for backup? Why couldn’t the chatting “sewing teacher” employee, since not busy with students, take a moment to help out? I haven’t been back since! I will go to the Joann’s in Modesto, if I must go to any Joann’s.

  117. Our local store in Martinsville Virginia has wonderful customer service and is very, very clean. The manager Charlotte prides herself on keeping the store clean and neat. Martinsville is a small community though, where everyone knows everyone and what they’re doing! The women have to keep up their reputations. That being said, there is one employee who is absolutely awful. She is supposedly the knitting and crochet specialist in the store and is constantly lying to customers and giving them horrible advice. (Actually overheard her telling a customer that they didn’t have the crochet hook size she wanted because there was a metal shortage!!) I have informed Charlotte about this, but there’s not much she can do….

    My mother lives in Ohio and we have shopped at the store in Hudson where their headquarters are located. It’s horrible. The store in Roanoke Virginia is equally bad. I discuss these findings with Charlotte and she tells me about the support (or lack of) from headquarters. Basically, they don’t care. It’s a bunch of men who are in it for the bottom line and don’t care at all about the customer.

    I have found that calling and complaining does absolutely no good. They don’t really care. Just goes to show what happens when a company gets too big. I remember when it began with one or two stores in northern Ohio and was called Cleveland Fabrics….

  118. I have lived in California, Oregon and Idaho for many years before moving to the East coast five years ago. I have never really found any inspiring fabric at a JoAnn’s store anywhere. (Usually just go there for notions, stock patterns for low prices on sale). The JoAnn’s in Greenbelt, Maryland is the worst store I’ve ever visited. The mall is outdated and seems almost dangerous. I rarely go there. Luckily, there is G Street Fabrics not much further away. I made the mistake of buying some knitted jersey online and when it arrived it was totally different than in the online photo. But I have purchased quilting cotton prints online and been happy with them. I was spoiled when I lived in the Portland, ORegon area. The Mill End Store is one of the best fabric stores I’ve ever shopped (and I started shopping there as a young seamstress in 1967).

  119. My biggest gripe with our Joan’s in central Iowa, is that they carry tons and tons of fleece, wedding/prom fabric and quilt fabrics but to try to find something to make a garment is difficult. When I was shopping for a craft, they never seemed to have all the stuff I needed for the particular craft. The store was old, crowded and badly stocked for notions. Recently they have done a remodel and the store looks much better. I haven’t had much time to check it out but it looks like they have a much better supply of notions. I have to drive 20-30 miles to get to a larger Joan’s and the other nearest general fabric store isn’t any better than the old Joan’s was. At least I get lots of coupons to use for the Joan’s so I can save a little cash when I sew.

  120. My hate/hate relationship with JoAnn began 20 years ago when I worked for them. At that time employees had to be able to sew, and even then the genral attitude was terrible. However, in those days JoAnn had competitors like Hancock, sometimes right across the road, so they had to try harder. The situation today in all the stores in the Columbus, Ohio area is dismal. They are all filthy, disorganized, run down places full of bitter employees. I keep getting amazing sales flyers in the mail and online, but almost nothing except dire need can get me to the store. It’s always a horrible experience on several levels. JoAnn now has no competition here and they are owned by a corporation which is famous for wringing its companies dry and selling them when they collapse. No amount of complaining to the head office is going to make a difference, because the situation at JoAnn is exactly as they want it to be.

  121. The Hancocks near me is even worse than the JoAnn’s! Rundown, dirty, and way understaffed. Every experience I’ve had in JoAnns or Hancocks required a long wait at the cutting table. Their selection of notions is terrible and all picked over if you arrive during a sale. The worst experience was watching a Hancock’s employee try to handle a long line at both the cutting table and the register all by herself. Yup, they staffed the entire store with just one person and in a busy metropolitan area!

  122. Wow! This topic hit home with me. Thanks for letting me rant.

    This is regarding the Joann’s on Canyon Springs Pkwy in the Riverside/Moreno Valley, Calif area.

    Here’s a summary of my last three visits:

    July: Generally dirty and disorganized. Good fifteen minute wait to check out. One poor frazzled clerk checking out customers. It wasn’t her fault. Few employees even though this is always a busy store and this was a Friday morning. Noted this on Joann’s on-line survey.

    Late August: Another Friday morning. Still dirty and disorganized. At least a twenty minute wait (for me) to check out with two clerks. By the time I reached the cash register, there were at least 15 customers behind me. The ones at the end of the line were going to be there a half-hour or so. I wrote another comment survey, blasting store management for allowing this continually poor customer service to continue.

    September: This time I went late mid-week. I bought some things I needed for a project. The interfacing was 50% off. First off, the discounts were not entered in the registers’ computers and if you weren’t watching closely, you paid full price. The clerk that cut the interfacing told me about the 50% off. I bought two yards. She tried to figure the price out, but did not know how to figure percentages. She said she just learned them in school. I felt sorry for her and gave her a fast lesson. I give her credit because she knew what items were on sale.

    This is a management problem. Joann’s does not adequately staff their stores, nor apparently trains the employee to make sure the employee can do basic math.

    Yes, they need to put experienced sewers in the fabric dept and put scrapbookers/card makers in the paper dept and jewelry makers in the beads. More often than not, the customer has a question that an experienced person would be able to answer.

    Since Wal-Mart is downsizing their fabric dept, Joann’s is the only place for a lot of people to get fabrics and notions. A lot of people in my area cannot afford to pay quilt store prices. So Joann’s has no incentive to improve.

    PS: I found your website because I bought some Sew-In Magnetic Snaps for a couple of purses I’m making as gifts. I’m trying to figure out how to apply them. I bought them at Quilter’s Cocoon in Riverside.

    • The magnetic snaps are EASY to apply. You just sew them in place around the 4 edges of the plastic. No special needle, no special foot. AND if you notice on the back of the tag, you’ll find a web address where you can see a free video of the installation process. 🙂

  123. I live in a small town where there are limited options for sewing/crafting supplies. JoAnn’s isn’t exactly filthy but it is pretty unorganized, especially as far as customer service goes. It is common knowledge in our town that JoAnn’s is a “bad” place to shop if you want “good” customer service.

  124. I guess I am fortunate with my experiences with JoAnn’s here in Concord, NH- I shopped there for several years before I landed the part time job there 6 months ago. We have very knowledgeable staff- most of us sew and many of us do a lot of different crafts. We have an Education department that has some wonderful classes too. For me, this is a job with low stress and a lot of benefits as it feels like I get to play with ‘candy’ when I am stocking shelves and helping customers. I know our store gets a lot of customers that drive beyond their local JoAnn’s to come to ours though. Not all store managers are as awesome as the one I have here!

  125. I think I’ve been really lucky here in Michigan with the JoAnn’s locations here. The ones I frequent, which are most of them in the Metro Detroit area, are neat, clean, and have knowledgeable staff. The one in Madison Heights and the one in Allen Park are only the ones I would really criticize because they seem to be understaffed. You go into either of those stores on a Saturday to look at fabric, and you’re going to be waiting a long time at the counting and check out counters. And God forbid there’s a sale!

    We have a new one in Livonia off I-96 that has been open for a week, and there have been long lines in there everyday. The difference is they always have all hands on deck for check out and cutting, and the store is super clean and organized. I love it!

    To me, there are two types of fabric stores: stores for quilting fabric and stores for apparel and/or home dec. Very rarely do the twain meet, but JoAnn’s does tend to be the exception. As Jackie in Michigan said, we do have quite a few quilt stores in these parts, and Material Girls in Dearborn is great. To the west and far north of Detroit, there are many quilting stores, which is great. I quilt and I adore it. However, when I’m looking for quilting cottons, I’m always looking for something specific, and I’m less inclined to go driving around for two and three hours to Traverse City, Kalamazoo, etc. in search of a specific piece of material. It’s just not realistic. Thankfully we do have Material Girls and a quilt shop in Wyandotte whose name I’m forgetting that are closer. However, in the Wayne/Oakland/Macomb county areas, we’re unfortunately rather limited to JoAnn’s, especially since Hancock Fabrics (nee Minnesota) closed up. And when you’re looking for apparel fabric, you can forget it. Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak is the only alternative to JoAnn’s, and they are pricey. The fabrics are beautiful, of course, but when I want to make a long wool coat to get me through our winters, I can’t afford to pay $75 a yard. Online fabric stores have become my best friends when it comes to quilting fabrics and basic apparel fabrics that used to be commonly found in stores, like wool coating, flannel-back satin linings, wool jersey, etc. When I leave Michigan, I’ll make sure to move somewhere where I have access to real, brick-and-mortar fabric stores.

    Thanks for posting, Studio Kat!

  126. As a fellow employee of Joann Fabrics myself, I wanted to shed some light on a perspective that is TOO often ignored and belittled — and that’s ours!

    I am all for customer service; in fact, i’m actually genuinely interested in what you’re making and I actually enjoy being able to help you find what you’re looking for. But I want to remind you, and emphasize, that this is a minimum wage, part time job! I can not believe the amount of ignorance I have received from customers when I was unable to answer their questions pertaining to their project — whether that be a cake decorating question, knitting, sewing, fabric etc. And when I say ignorance, I mean ignorance! I’ve had customers yell at me, roll their eyes at me, and even had a customer tell me, “you should be ashamed of yourself”.

    The lack of sympathy in people these days will never fail to amaze me. You need to understand that the long lines, and wait time at the cut table, as well as the lack of help on the floor is not the fault of an employees, or even the managers! The amount of hours given to us for payroll is entirely up to corporate — and yelling or demeaning an employee or manager will do nothing but make you an ugly, and rude person.

    Here are a few tips to shopping at Joann’s that will not just make your lives easier, but ours as well:

    #1. If you walk into Joann’s with the intention of getting something cut by the yard, swing by the cut counter to see how busy it is. If it’s busy, grab a number and THEN do your shopping! I can’t tell you how annoying it is when people do their shopping, grab their fabrics, and THEN grab a number… and then just stand around the cut counter, with nothing to do, while starring at us while we cut. Not only is it stressful to look up and see a million of eyes starring at you with rage, but i’m sure it’s just as annoying for you to wait.

    Let’s say you grabbed a number, and they call your number before you can decided what you want cut. Swing by the cut counter quick and see if you can trade your ticket with someone else, that way you can continue to shop.

    #2. Get your act together! Check the Joann’s website or even Google for coupons BEFORE arriving to Joann’s and have it ready to go! I find it hysterical when customers get mad about how long the wait can be at the cut counter/registers when a large reason for that is because customers are trying to look for coupons while having their fabrics cut or while at the registers.

    #3. Smile and don’t forget to just, breathe! When there’s a rush at Joann’s, it can get pretty crazy. But when customers have a positive attitude, employees will too! Understand that we don’t enjoy the long lines anymore than you do, and that we’re genuinely trying to help as many people as we possibly can but like I said earlier… when it’s busy, it’s busy! Your smile and positivity will make a HUGE impact in your experience, as well as the employees! Thank you in advance!

    • Alisha. I appreciate that you care about your job at JoAnn’s. Of course you can’t answer every question on every subject. Any savvy shopper will know that you can only follow corporate policy. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. But that being said, JoAnn’s ads are misleading. Let’s say I wanted a certain kind of fur. I have a 40% off coupon for a single cut of full price fabric. The fabric is not in stock. 2 weeks later when it’s on sale for 25% off, it’s suddenly available. It cannot be 25% off the regular price, when it’s not regularly available. I think this happens too often to be just co-incidence. I think it’s corporate. Licensed sports team fabrics are ALWAYS on sale, so you can never use a coupon. HOW CAN AN ITEM BE 25% OFF THE REGULAR PRICE, WHEN IT’S REGULARLY 25% OFF? A few years ago I bought fabric for a small curtain– 2 yards. I paid for two yards…I was given less than 1 3/4. I was cheated 10 inches! The next time I went to town I returned it. What a hassle! I started measuring every piece of fabric I bought, and more than half were an inch short (or more).
      Your suggestion of taking a number at the cut table before selecting the fabric is particularly irritating. When I’m waiting to have my fabric cut and a customer ahead of me is not ready and waiting, it increases my wait time. I see clearly how much time is wasted when the employees call numbers then have to wait for the customer to skedaddle up to the counter from the Minky aisle. There is never a not-busy-time. There is always a long wait. Then to the cash register where there is always another long wait. And I do watch how much time customers spend looking for coupons. I haven’t noticed it to be as much as at your store, but at least YOU are getting paid while they look/clip. Perhaps I should have included a rant about corporate and their insane coupons.
      In the end, I now pretty much boycott JoAnn’s. I drive the 60 extra miles to go to Hancock’s. I’m low-income–we carpool. Here, JoAnn’s is nick-named, “The Evil Store.” On the plus side, except for shorting me on fabric, I’ve never had a bad experience with the sales staff. Always cheery in spite of the stress.

  127. I work at Joann’s. We make minimum wage, which is not enough for any of us to pay our rent. Most of us work two jobs. As a combined result we not only cannot afford our hobbies, but we don’t have time to enjoy them if we could, or take the free classes Joann’s offers us.

    Joann’s is a mindless, soulless retail chain. It dispensed with the “personal touch” thing years ago when it realized it beat out all the other fabric stores (Walmart, Michaels for the most part, and most small, family owned businesses). You will come back because you have no choice.

    Even hitting up .99c pattern sales and BOYO thread sales and 75% off clearance fabrics there is no way you can make it for less than $2.50, which is how much I can get new shirts for at Target. Yes, your shirt might be nicer than the one at Target, but a shirt is a shirt if all it’s needed to do is cover your back and give you some, “I made it for less!” satisfaction. A shirt is something more when you want to embellish it and put on the glitter and fringe. Then it becomes a, “I had some extra cash I needed to spend.” item. Joann’s caters to the “extra cash” crowd and not the “make it for less” crowd.

    Joann’s hires people to run cash registers. Joann’s hires people to cut fabric. Joann’s does NOT hire people to wander the floor and help you find things. This may come as a shocker to most of you, but when someone helps you find something or gives you advice on a project they are actually stopping the job they are getting PAID to do in order to do YOUR project for you. Most of you didn’t know to be greatfull. Now you do.

    Joann’s does NOT hire personal shoppers, yet cashiers OFTEN have to stop checking people out in order to wander the floor looking for “hot pink and purple variegated worsted yarn” (an exact example from last night). We were 20 people out in line with only two cashiers and this lady had me run back to check to see if we had her exact colors three times before she would let me off the phone. It’s gotten to the point where I just tell people that we’re not able to spare bodies to shop for them, but that they’re free to come to the store to do their own shopping. It’s rude of people to constantly put me in a position of telling them, “No, I’m just a cashier.” Customers don’t like it when I set up and enforce boundaries, but I have a right to those boundaries.

    You cannot make things at Joann’s for cheaper than you can buy pre-made somewhere else. I know this because corporate sent a nice young man down to explain it to all of us just last week. Joann’s have beat out Walmart, Michaels and most other family owned stores in the fabric department so you WILL come to Joann’s and you WILL come back to Joann’s. No matter how badly your experience was.

    Joann’s is a disposable income business, according to Corporate. What I mean by this is that you CAN make a shirt cheaper at Joann’s than you’ll buy it at retail store, but you’d have to pay full price at retail and buy EVERYTHING down to the thread on sale (no embellishments whatsoever, either) in order to do that. I bought everything on sale down to 50% thread sales and still paid $20 to make a basic shirt. The same style of shirt was currently on sale at Target for$2.50. Joann’s knows which yarns, fabrics and other crafting stuff is the most popular and prices them higher. If you want something that looks nice, then you will pay for something that looks nice. Otherwise you’ll shop retail and get it for the same price or cheaper.

    All this being said, I agree that the retail environment has killed the personal touch that stores used to offer their customers. Kinda like it killed the health care and living wage it used to offer employees.

    If you don’t like a store then don’t shop there. Whining to employees at a store will only cause a bonding moment for employees and manager after you leave while they roll their eyes at yet another entitled soccer mom and say no more about it. What you can do is contact Corporate and complain to them directly. Then, find another store to shop until conditions improve. Otherwise, you negate your own efforts.

  128. I agree with all the frustration expressed here. I am a semiretired, graduate-degreed woman who has been sewing for over 50 years. My career experience is writing, editing, computer programming, and website management. I had no retail experience and applied to Jo-Ann’s for a job in the local store. Never heard anything. I have to presume they don’t want knowledgeable employees.

    Thanks to all who commented. Interesting reading!

  129. 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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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.

  133. 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.

  134. my joanns store is clean,well stocked and has very nice customer service. It is a newish store. Their fabric selection is good. I can’t complain.

  135. My store is in Murfreesboro tn btw.

  136. For three times, after receiving JoAnn’s on line Ads, I went on line trying to buy stuff. Usually 2 or three days later on all 3 times, I receives from JoAnn s an e-mail informing me that ALL items I ordered were out of stock. So … I waisted my time on line, I gave out my financial information for nothing. I don’t buy JoAnn on line anymore.

  137. 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!

  138. I work at a JoAnn store in Las Vegas and while I agree with some of the comments, I believe our store is pretty good. There are only 2 stores in the valley, the other one in Henderson, so we are usually pretty busy. Most of the women working at the cutting table are pretty knowledgeable about sewing and we try to help as much as possible. We are usually soi busy that we can’t spend a lot of time with customers becaus the other people waiting to get fabric cut complain if we spend that much time with one person. We are short handed a lot because we are given hours by corporate based on the sales and if we don’t make a certain dollar amount for the day or week we are cut in hours.Customers have commented that we are very friendly and happy which we always try to be and we have a lot of fun. I am really sorry about the bad service in other stores but because of all the corporate rules and regulations it is really hard to do our jobs properly and maybe that is why the employees in other stores are so unhappy, especially at this time of year when the stores are so busy and the wait is longer.I have noticed that the fabric has gotten better in quality than in the past and the customers here are more satisfied. Unfortunately with the cut in hours because of the Affordable Care Act it is really hard to be properly staffed but we try very hard to be as helpful as possible.

  139. Former JoAnn’s manager here. My store was in a depressed area and would likely have been one you all dinged for cleanliness and disarray. But with no extras from corporate my hands were tied. We had a huge store but only allowed to work 2-3 people throughout the day. That was 20+ years ago. The JoAnns I shop at now is slightly larger than my store was and they usually have 8-10 workers on hand through the day, as to having knowledgable staff on hand, it’s not possible to have wirkers who know every craft in the entire store. How many of you are talented in that manner? I do just about every fiber craft there is, but I don’t paint or do floral arrangements. It’s just not that easy to fully staff a store with employees who do every craft in the world. Just be thankful they are trying to have the materials available for you to buy for every new craft that comes down the pipe.

  140. Former JoAnn’s manager here. My store was in a depressed area and would likely have been one you all dinged for cleanliness and disarray. But with no extras from corporate my hands were tied. We had a huge store but only allowed to work 2-3 people throughout the day. That was 20+ years ago. The JoAnns I shop at now is slightly larger than my store was and they usually have 8-10 workers on hand through the day, as to having knowledgable staff on hand, it’s not possible to have wirkers who know every craft in the entire store. How many of you are talented in that manner? I do just about every fiber craft there is, but I don’t paint or do floral arrangements. It’s just not that easy to fully staff a store with employees who do every craft in the world. Just be thankful they are trying to have the materials available for you to buy for every new craft that comes down the pipe.

  141. 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.

  142. 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.

    • Tausha Armbruster

      Macy — thanks for pointing out that the Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with the poor treatment of JoAnn’s employees! JoAnn’s is way to greedy as most corporations are these days. That is why there is poor service and poorly trained employees. Our JoAnn’s is nice but the employees are not very knowledgeable about sewing and fabric. When I go, there seems to always be new faces. I agree with the comments about supporting the small privately owned local shops. We should push more for that. It would make our communities better. Thanks to all for the interesting comments.

  143. 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.

  144. 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!

  145. Our Joann’s moved to a new building, with lots of additional space. Since then it has been more pleasurable to shop. The fabric selection is still decent, sadly not as well as our Hobby Lobby for certain materials, yet the experienced people have all seemed to disappear.

  146. 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.

  147. 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.

  148. 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.

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

  151. 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.

  152. Well, I also have been in many Joanne stores but I have found most to be very good. I work for Viking inside the White Lake Michigan store and they are the best! The employees are very knowledgeable and really go beyond the call to help ladies/men. Some of the customers are very rude and obnoxious but the great ones make up for that!!! Also, there is a new store in Livonia, Michigan that is very nice. Always so busy, they have needed a fabric store for so long in that area! So for the most part, I still love Joannes stores!!! =)

  153. 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.

  154. I agree with Erin – I haven’t bought quilting fabric from Joann’s in years. That said, the Superstore in Dublin, CA is well kept and the employees knowledgeable about their stock. I go there for notions, tools, and non quilting fabric. The Superstore in Concord, CA is not as well kept and the staff less knowledgeable. I do occasionally order from when they offer free shipping or don’t have a specialty item in the store AND I don’t need it right away – it always takes at least 2 weeks for the order to be picked and shipped plus another 10 days to arrive. For online fabric shopping, I use the advanced search feature of if I’m looking for a specific fabric; otherwise I like Missouri Star Quilts, Blue Bamboo, Sew Batik, and eQuilter. I do try the nearest local quilt shops first before going online.

  155. 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.

  156. I shop a lot at my local Joann”s and have never had a problem. However I have had a lot of problems with their corporate customer service. They have no clue what is going on in any of their stores. They are rude and are not at all prompt with emails. They still have not responded to an email I sent them 2 weeks ago regarding a Joann’s exclusive blizzard fleece print. My local store is friendly and very clean. They actually know what they are talking about and very helpful. I guess I have one of the lucky stores by reading these comments.

  157. The JoAnn’s store in Aurora, CO is pathetic. Whenever JoAnn’s has a well-publicized sale with great prices, this store only has two employees working – one to cut fabric with a line out the door – and the other at the cash register with an equally long line. I’ve seen more people lay the items they wanted to purchase down and walk out the door than actually buy them, myself included. But then, this happens all the time and not just during their big sales. Poorly staffed and poorly managed, this store has created a dismal representation of JoAnn’s in general. When I see a JoAnn’s store now, I just drive right on by.

  158. I live in a city a large city located in the Central Valley of California. There are two Joann Craft Stores located here, of which both are not well kept. It seems that more care is given to the way quilting fabric is displayed. A larger area is given to display the quilting fabric, which always seem to be neatly displayed. The apparel fabric section is a mess. The bolts of fabric are packed in so tightly it is impossible to see all the fabric choices. The shelving that is used to display apparel fabric is not at eye level, which makes it hard to see the fabric. The quilting fabric is all displayed at eye level, which makes for easier fabric selection. There are bolts of apparel fabric that are laying on the floor, because there is no room to fit them on the shelf. There is no consistent organization of fabric by fiber content. I have also experienced waiting in a long line while waiting for fabric to be cut. They do have a “take the number system” for waiting on customers. The problem is that some people have many bolts of fabric that need to be cut. This is very true on big sale days. There will be people waiting in the cutting line who have two shopping carts full of fabric to be cut. This is typical on big sale days. This problem could be solved by making two lines. One for those with three or less bolts of fabric to be cut and a line for those with more than three bolts to be cut. The check out/pay line in always very long. The sale just aren’t worth it to me. The pattern area has a vey small table for looking at the pattern books. There was a large table, but it has been taken out a replaced with the smaller table. Joann’s doesn’t have the patterns on sale as often as Hancock Fabrics does. I don’t shop at Joann’s Craft Store anymore, the sales worth weeding though all there messy fabric displays and putting up with waiting in line.
    I shop at the local Hancock Fabric Store. All the fabric is displayed at eye level and is not crammed together. The signs display the fabric content and price clearly. The staff is nice an very helpful with any questions. The pattern area has plenty of room to look at patterns.
    One last comment… I attend a local knitting group and the subject of Joann Craft Stores came up. Everyone there had the same opinion as what I have shared with you.
    I am looking at fabric online, but I do like seeing and feeling the fabric before I purchase it.
    Happy sewing to everyone!

  159. I certainly agree with you Kat! The closest Joann store to me is in Buena Park, CA, and I absolutely loathe going there. It’s always a complete and utter mess! Things are just thrown everywhere, on every shelf, in every isle. You should see their thread rack! I spend way too much time there just trying to find the right color thread because a majority of them are not in the right slots, or there are 3 different colors in each slot. Don’t get me started on their messy zipper rack either! They are never in their right slot, so it becomes a hunt to find the color and size I need in the wrong place! Customer service is terrible, they’re more concerned with when their next break is, or when they can leave a line full of customers to go to lunch, or too terribly busy to help you or answer a question! I do a MAJORITY of my sewing shopping online now, and you can find good deals, especially on etsy, but when you just need something small or real quick or just ran out of interfacing on a project you’re working on, it’s easy to go to my local store and use those 40, 50 and even 60% off coupons! That’s how they get you! I don’t go to my local Joann unless it’s an emergency or I can’t wait for something to be shipped to me. Good for you for bringing this to light! I appreciate it!

  160. Forgot to add a list of online places I love to shop at: – super fast shipping, but you pay a shipping charge, – great selection, free shipping at $35, but expect to receive it in 2 weeks, they are NOT fast, not to the West Coast anyway, – great selection, great service. For notions, I like,, or my very favorite You can find great items there like purse zippers with long pulls and purse hardware like rings, and lobster claws!

  161. Ordered from the internet. Four items were missing from the order that I received. Called and was told 3 of them were not available for 2-3 weeks – which screws Christmas. (Then why did they take my order??) The other item should have been in there but wasn’t. Was told the only way to receive it was to cancel it and reorder it. (Really? I’m not the one who didn’t put it in the box!!). Add salt to the wound they charged my credit card for the entire order – even the items they knew didn’t ship! This is pure and simple fraud!

  162. Joann’s employees are paid minimum wage, employee turnover is high, staff are always in training, they schedule based on how busy they think it will be. Sometimes it is busier than expected and you get lines. Oct-Dec there are always lines. They cannot hire enough seasonal employees to meet demand.
    They are not going to create an ‘express line’ at the cut counter for people buying less…just not going to happen.
    When it is busy, would you prefer that employee to be tidying the thread or cutting your fabric/checking you out? I am willing to bet most of the problems customers are encountering are during the Halloween-Christmas period when staff just can’t keep up.
    Joann’s would love to have more knowledgeable employees at the cut counter, but as I said, it is minimum wage and hours are not good during non-peak times so employee retention is difficult.
    Other than during the peak time mentioned, if your Joann store regularly has more than 5 people in line at the cut counter/registers with only one staff member on, then ask to speak to a senior manager and calmly explain your concerns because then obviously the store is not following proper staffing guidelines and changes need to be made. (I am a new p/t seasonal employee. My opinions do not reflect those of the company)

    • HI Lisa

      You are right to be concerned about the employees at JoAnn’s. They are not the source of the problem, nor can they solve it. However, the fact that MANY of the stores have surly, unhelpful employees IS a problem that can be traced directly back to corporate policy. Problem employees are a SYMPTOM of the overall management problem at JoAnns.
      I think its been established that there are GREAT JoAnn;s out there, and then there are HORRID stores. Some have happy employees, but MANY do not. This is a corporate issue, and those out there who happen to live near a nice JoAnn;s need to be thankful, but also need to understand that many of us are really suffering thru the consequences. This is not an indictment of ALL JoAnn’s, but we have no alternative and the corporate guys arent listening to us…. at least so far. There are problem JoAnn’s store all over this country and its time for the corporate guys to roll their sleeves up and fix these problems!

  163. I have to report that the JoAnn’s here in Yuma, AZ has really stepped up! The last couple times I’ve been there have been a treat. They had someone on the floor straightening fabric bolts, extra people at the cutting table and at checkout, there was even someone asking if you need help finding something. And these were JoAnn employees!

    Some time ago I signed up for their email program and they have been sending me extra coupons for 50% and 60% off most non-sale items, as well as the 40% off coupons. I even got a survey asking how they were doing, so I think they’re trying to step it up. If they keep this up, going to JoAnn’s could get to be FUN!

  164. I have been very lucky with the JoAnn’s here in Augusta, GA. We have JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, Hancock and a Bernina shop that sells some fabric.

    The staff I have interacted with at the fabric counter and the cash register are all very friendly and knowledgable. I do use my coupons when I shop there and I normally read off the number to the cashier since the scanners hate my phone. I have also found the secret to our JoAnn store is to shop after 5pm on Saturday. For some reason, after that time, the store is a ghost town and there is little to no wait at the cutting counter or the registers.

    Our Hancock Fabrics is smaller than JoAnn but they have good quality material. They also have some awesome sales and their staff is excellent.

    During my visit to Orlando to be with my parents, I never realized what a real quilt shop looked like or all of the cool fabrics that you could purchase. Real silk! Lovely linens! Awesome cotton for quilting! I got spoiled. Compared to where I live, this was fabric paradise. I am also saving my money so that I can support the smaller “Mom and Pop shops” when I go back. The quality and helpfulness were unbeatable. Did I mention all of the cool Indie patterns that the quilt shops stocked? I thought I had died and went to Craftsy and Etsy Heaven!

    JoAnn is good here, great staff, good sales but a very small store.

  165. The nearest JoAnn to me is 50 minutes away in Farmington, NM. I go there for notions mostly as most of their fabric is not very good quality. I don’t buy the thread since it is all polyester and I am a quilter. The store is dirty and poorly staffed. A good cleaning would make me shop there more often. However, when I visited one in Parker, CO which was huge I was awed at all they had to offer. It was clean, well stocked and well staffed with helpful employees. I understand that the small stores can’t have it all but they could at least be clean and neat.

  166. I shop at a Joann’s in Grand Island, Nebraska. I love that store. The employees are very helpful. They always have sale prices. I have found good fabric there I can not find anywhere else. I also like their craft items and holiday decorations. This is a store I can afford to shop at on a limited budget.

  167. I love our Joann’s in Grapevine, Texas. The store is neat and tidy (unless a rush of customers has destroyed it, which doesn’t seem to happen often), and the employees I have dealt with have been cheerful, kind and as helpful as possible. I particularly like to deal with one woman, who has been there for many years. I have had experience in Denton, Texas at a sloppy, slovenly, Joann’s with okay service, but that was 4 years ago, so it may have changed. I love Joann’s online. I order for them all of the time. Incorrect or damaged orders are cheerfully dealt with by phone customer service. Unfortunately for them, shipping makes mistakes, sometimes in the customer’s favor. I ordered a set of stickers, and received 5 that were bundled in a plastic bag. Apparently the employee(s) at the warehouse didn’t notice, or were unaware, that many of their items are pre-bundled and have to be separated (this is a speculation on my part, BTW, because of my experiences in online shopping). I called Joann’s to report the error, and was told I might keep the extras with their compliments. Have had somewhat crushed shipments, or incorrect shipments, and have always received courteous assistance. They are not particularly fast shippers, it is true, but I would rather order from them than Hobby Lobby or Michaels (very small choice). As far as ordering online and being told there is a backorder, I’ve only had that happen once out of many many orders – their site tells you when they are out of stock. AND you can request notification when the item is back in stock. I love to shop at a clean, well-organized Joann’s, and at their online store. I hope that they will address some of the problems that keep customers away, so that their business will thrive and I will be able to keep using their service.

  168. I shop at the JoAnn’s that is next to the corporate headquarters. The quality of quilting fabrics is poor thought they have been getting in some high thread count fabrics. The quality and selection of their clothing fabrics is extremely poor and I haven’t bought anything for years in that department. It is very frustrating because there is no other place to go so I have given up on garment sewing. The line is long for checkout and I have to plan a trip during an odd time of day if I need a craft item. I wish they would upgrade their fabrics.

  169. It’s been quite a while since I went to the JoAnn’s in my town. I went Sunday because I saw a Butterick pattern online that I wanted to get. When I walked around to look at fabric I was reminded as to why it has been so long since I last visited. The fabric is mostly ugly, cheap, low quality, and was a mess. Years ago, JoAnn’s used to carry some beautiful fabrics and the employees were sewing savvy. Now they don’t even let employees wear clothing they sew themselves; if they sew at all. However, there was an older lady working there on Sunday who was wearing a festive St. Patrick’s Day themed apron that she mad; still very rare anymore. Since they put more emphasis on the crafts part the sewing part has obviously become low priority. It’s really sad. I remember when even WalMart sold some decent fabrics…

  170. The Joanne stores in stevens point and Wausau are clean and Okay but the quality of material is cheap. I use for most of my fabric and joann for thread (not the best either), zippers, interfacing. But for the most part I order on line.Even jewelry supplies at joannes is okay but better on line

  171. Silbeo Cheonsa

    I’ve had decent customer service, but the clearance isle always seems to be the only place where I can seem to find good prices on cloth. Not meaning to sound like a cheapskate, but a lot of the cloth is pretty overpriced (I can buy the same types of cloth they sell for much cheaper at local shops.)

  172. I recently went back to work at my local Joann’s store. I had been there for three years and ended up as the floor manager as well as the receiving manager. I’m back part time now, and I’ll never take the management position again.

    Corporate is bad. It is bad, bad, very bad. Recently, they have acquired a new CEO and she has brought in some staggeringly bad new decisions. One of the biggest problems has been labor allowances. Labor MUST be kept under 9-11% of the budget, and the new rules are getting even tighter. We run our store on the barest of schedules. If we’re lucky, we’ll have 6 people working on the busiest sale days. Six people, to cut fabric, run registers, help customers, cover breaks, receive freight, keep the store stocked and tidy… It’s a lot for six people to do, and that’s when we’re lucky. At night, its rarely more than two, regardless of how busy we are. One manager, one crew. That’s all we get. Its a miracle when our store looks tidy. Our store manager doesn’t receive any incentives, she’s just trying to keep from getting screamed at (or fired) by our district manager, who graces us with his presence 2 or 3 times a year.

    The corporate mindset has ruined our classes so now we teach almost nothing. No one received any training in any crafts (when I first started working, employees were offered a Sewing 101 class for free to brush up on the basics. That doesn’t happen anymore.) so helping customers can be impossible. The people who do know their stuff don’t stick around long because, around here, those skills sell, sell, sell in other places.

    The products are the cheapest the company can find. Fabric will come in from the distribution center covered in black magic marker or grease lines, crumpled on the bolt, or rolled on with such a massive twist that the grain-line is on a visible bias when you lay the fabric out. We don’t have time to fix any of this stuff, and we damage out an absurd amount of fabric due to factory damage. I always try to cut with an allowance (a fireable offense) but it’s kind of hard to explain to someone, “I’m giving you an inch extra because when you lay this fabric out at home, it is going to be so crooked that you’ll be lucky to get a good, usable length out of it. Sorry! Have fun sewing!”

    The way the corporate offices treat the customers (excuse me, “guests”) is insulting.

    In my town, Joann’s is the best option. I love working with my coworkers and I love the customers, but the corporate offices are mind-numblingly stupid. Beyond normal retail stupid. It’s obvious that the people in charge have never sat in front of a sewing machine before. I really wish it will change, but it won’t. And that’s just frustrating and sad.

  173. I work at a local Joann’s store in Indiana and I absolutely love working there. It’s true that not all the stores are good and I’m not trying to say they are, but I take pride in my store. All of my managers care about the customers and try to only hire employees that have knowledge of sewing or crafting. I also love answering questions and helping the guest in finding their supplies. What the people at the stores you have gone to don’t realize is that if you help the guest and figure out what they need they be buying more from you! I’m sorry you had such bad experiences at your Joann’s I hope that if you’re ever in my area and come see us you will enjoy our service!

  174. I thought I would add my two cents. I live in Phoenix, AZ and both of the Stores I frequent seem very nice. (Arrowhead area and the Desert Ridge store). I am just learning to see so am fairly new as a shopper there. Yes I was surprised that not all could answer what I thought should be simple questions about sewing supplies , but after thinking about it I understood. It is retail and at any given time they are gonna have employees who are not gonna know depending on what their hobby is. Pay is not expected to be great in retail necessarily, and people need jobs. They have been very polite, courteous and gave lots of tips on using coupons as a newbie. Stores are clean and for the most part well stocked, except no soap and candle making supplies :(. Also I still do not know when I am ever going to be able to take advantage of those 50% off one item coupons you get for doing the survey as you can only use it for things that are not on sale (there seems to always be a sale), and you can’t use it for other items that I need to buy, so I am not sure what you CAN actually use the coupon for?! Other then that I am happy that you are given the option to use so many coupons. Can’t say I know any other stores that do that, so that is pretty awesome. Hopefully, that won’t change or I won’t be able to shop there any longer.

  175. I had a customer that I was making a project for them. I told them what they needed. The employee at Joann told them to get something completely different from what I gave my customer.
    My customer not knowing about fabric bought what they told her to.
    Now I have to send my customer back to Joann to return and purchase what I originally told her.
    I normally do not even deal with Joann, but because this is a run order, I sent them there.
    They have tried to tell me as a Seamstress to get things other than what I need.
    Once I tell them “NO” that is not what I need and I have what I want. And inform them that I am a professional Seamstress Dressmaker, they back off with there subjection’s.

    Most of the employees do not even know how to sew, but want to tell you what to get.
    Totally tired of Joann Fabric stores.

  176. A bit late here with this article…I have my JA about 14 miles fro me and I have seen many of these same complaints over time. Recently rare (nowadays) visit I had a very helpful girl getting me the right pack of rotary blades from the back — a very rare thing. Mine is not well stocked either and very few employees around. Now they have everything locked up, you can look at it and certainly can’t find anyone to help. Luckily we have a Michaels nearby and now a wonderful new Hobby Lobby. I have never bought much fabric at JA except Home Deco stuff, yes their fabric is poor quality.

  177. I’ve lived all over the country and have been relatively lucky, until I moved to Frederick, MD. Ridiculously long lines/understaffed; mismarked/mispriced items, and today an extremely rude cashier who insisted my percentage off total purchase coupon was good for only one item, but she couldn’t reproduce it because it had already been shredded! I even went back to the on-line ad to double check. No interest in helping me at all. They won’t be getting any more business from me.

  178. I have worked at Joann before as a part timer but really it’s not the staffs fault for your problems. We are not there to walk you step by step on your projects. I sew, I knit, I crochet, I even paint but, no, I do not bake and people still expect me to know how to bake. Heck, sewing is such a broad spectrum. I sew a little bit of apparel but don’t expect me to know how to make your quilt or how to refurnish your whole house. People really try to help, unless your store is really beyond shitty (but I’m sure any business out there is going to be shitty). I always try to help as much as I can and even when it’s as simple as adding fractions because people don’t do their homework before coming in. It’s just easier when people actually have measurements of things they’re trying to fix or cover (and then of course we’ll still have to do your math for you). Another option for not measuring before hand is that we pull an imaginary table out from our ass. People get irritated for waiting and then when it’s their turn they take forever to explain and debate about how much fabric they want to get and then when theyre done the next irritated customer do the same thing, it’s the circle of retail. Sorry not sorry, that we don’t have your grandma working on the other side of the cutting counter or an hgtv designer or Martha Stewart in the store. The team members are regular people who are trained to know the locations of items, how to measure and cut and know math (because apparently most people who come in don’t know math nor common sense). It’s not that I’m passionate about the store either and of course other management problems but I really just don’t like bad customers. Despite a that I did enjoy working there because there are the few happy costumers who really makes up for the bad ones.

  179. My last trip to Joanns was a nightmare. I bought nearly $200 of fabric and yarn, paid for it left store and as we was placing our bags in the truck something was moving in 1 bag of yarn. omgeez we found a mouse trying to run for cover, not only was there a mouse but in 1 skein it had a nest in center of yarn and bunch of pink babies, ewwww. well hubby killed it and returned in the store with it showing them which skein of yarn it came from & the babies and they refused to refund all my money for my purchases. so I called the police and guess what evidence spoke loud. police told them either refund or I was pressing charges and reporting to health department, which I did anyways. (health Department). I no longer deal with Joanns. Oh and the cashier lied to the officer in saying she remembered me and it had been 2 days since I had been in there but my receipt showed it hadn’t been 30 minutes. cashier also was given a ticket for lieing to an officer. Joanns is worse place to shop

  180. My wife works for the main office and let me tell you the fuckery comes straight from the top. she is a very well educated highly qualified worker, who actually went to college and go a degree to work at jo anns, she has two degrees and neither is being used. her bosses get fired by the dozens, and nobody seems to know what they are supposed to do or how to do it. This isnt someone mad that they arent appreciated, but rather someone tired of not being challenged or have a clear task. dont even dream of working for this company, they will be closed very soon.