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Wal Mart

Pammypoo | Posted in General Discussion on

I just started at Wal Mart and I am told there is a new CEO at Wal Mart.  I wanted to suggest that we start an e-mail, letter writing and  phone bombardment of Wal Mart trying to get the fabric back inot the ones that it has been removed from or added to the ones that were built without it.

We need to show that we spend as much of our hard earned $$ on fabric as well as food and clothing and “boy toys”.  Most of the space for fabric has been taken away and given to the electronic department, or the sports department.  We need to band together and take care of ourselves and our businesses.  Crafters, seamstresses and casual sewers need to get together and show that we are a “force” (passive as we are) to be reconded with.

Most of the people who work in Wal Mart want fabric in there, but can’t fight the CEO alone.



  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    The last remaining fabric department was recently removed in my area. I went directly to the service desk to request a complaint form. I was told they did not have such a thing, but the clerk did ask why I wanted one. I told her that I was unhappy about losing the fabric department, and I was no longer a shopper at Walmart. She was shocked, but said that she was required to pass the information along. Whatever that meant. That was two months ago. I have not shopped in a Walmart since. I am officially boycotting. Cathy

  2. marymary | | #2

    I suspect the removal of the fabric departments was a money decision.  If Walmart was making money selling fabric, it would be counterproductive to remove it.

    Boycotting and bashing Walmart seems to be a popular thing to do.  However, they do listen if you complain enough.  Last year the sound system at our local Walmart was so loud that I could not shop there.  I complained and was told there was nothing the local store could do, the sound system was set by "corporate", whatever that means.  I sent an email to corporate.  The result was a call from someone who gave me a bunch of double talk that didn't make a lot of sense.  I tried to shop again, but left the store before I was finished shopping because the music was deafening.  A few clerks I talked with agreed with me.   Again, I sent an email emphasizing that this was costing them money.  Got no response this time.  However, the sound system has now been turned down to an acceptable level.  Did I do that?  I don't know.  But, I can shop there again.

    The fabric department got downsized at this local Walmart.  What they may not recognize is that reducing or removing the fabric department does cost them profit from other parts of the store.  I used to go out of my way to go to Walmart for other things just to shop in the fabric department.  Now, I don't always bother.  Target is a lot closer to me.

  3. jjgg | | #3

    I don't shop at Wallmart and haven't for many many years. As I recall from years ago, their fabrics weren't worth much anyway.

    1. Pammypoo | | #4

      The fabric departments in Northern Minnesota is half "HALF" of the days profits for every Wal Mart that has had fabric since it opened.  I have connections with some of the other Wal Marts up here that have had the fabric for years.  The "boys" want to shove out the women's things.  They want sports, electronics and other "guy" things. 

      We spend the $$$ and the CEO's are men and want all the men to be able to buy what they want.  I am not trying to sound like I am against men, but when they take my needs and put them on the back shelf and I am not happy.

      I know it isn't the best quality, but it is something that I can test and perfect my skill without spending a fortune.  I will spend the fortune after I have figured out what I am doing.


      1. MaryinColorado | | #6

        I've boycotted Wallyworld for years due to their sexist employee practices and their involvement with the dreaded microchipping...but I'll stay off the soapbox today.  My "neighborhood" has at least 5 of their stores within a few miles, it's rediculous! 

        Edited 7/29/2009 12:00 am by MaryinColorado

    2. cafms | | #5

      In 2007 our sewing guild sent a letter to Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart then (don't know if he still is or not) to ask that they not close the fabric departments.  We told him much of the state is rural with only small towns and the only place many people could get fabric was at Wal-Mart.  We received a reply from Julie Geels, Executive Correspondence Manager, saying that "in keeping with our emphasis on being a store of the community, Wal-Mart was converting the fabrics and crafts department in some stores to a newly expanded assortment of merchandise that focuses on life's celebrations."  She went on to say they were thrilled to offer an exciting new crafts and celebrations center that would have things for weddings, holidays, and birthdays but they would continue to offer things "commonly refered to as notions."  This would include sewing machines, yarn, needles, thread and other items.  She hoped our local store would continue to be a destination for quality merchandise for our entire community.  Though I would only rarely purchase fabric there and never a sewing machine, we have kept the fabrics at my local store.  I don't know if our letter helped but the letters sent by others in the state didn't help them.  Our thought was why keep sewing machines if there is no fabric to sew.  If there is a problem with the machines there is no one to repair them here.  Only if you purchased from them will a shop look at your machine.  I have found other places to shop with a Hancock's between me and Wal-Mart and other stores that carry things I would get there.

  4. Ceeayche | | #7

    I too lament the departure of my Walmart's fabric department.  While they do have the sewing machines, I agree with the others on several points.  Walmart's fabric department differientiated it from Target, which I normally passed to get to Walmart.  And, like others I did all my other shopping there while I was there.  Now I go to Walmart when Target is closed or when Target or Costco don't have something I need and I'm hoping Walmart may.

    To be clear, Walmart didn't have the best QUALITY of sewing stuff.  But since I work long hours on my paying job, I usually don't get to START my sewing until after 7:30 (by the time I get home, have dinner and throw the dishes somewhere near the dishwasher).  So, when it's 10 PM and I'm in the middle of a project and I need a zipper or some muslin or some interfacing or elastic.  Or I'm making something to wrap a gift, or I need some thing inexpensive for a party centerpiece, or for a display.  Or I have a great idea for a themed party.  Or I have a god child clamoring for something licensed like barbie or the the reds.... Or I want a pattern....and it doesn't need to be Vogue or Marfy....  Or I'm visiting my grandmother who lives in small farming town where there is no fabric store.... or I'm in Cancun and we have a wardrobe manufunction with one of the bridesmades.... Walmart was my stop!

    Yes they replaced it with inexpensive wedding doo dads and scrapbooking stuff.... maybe that has a higher margin.  I don't know.  Sometimes I use that stuff too (I'm an equal opportunity crafter/sewer).  But they carried them before, and much of it is the same stuff stacked high, as opposed to lots of new/interesting things they didn't carry before--in other words the increased the shelf space for the stuff they had before).  Don't think they understand that wedding doo dads are good for a once in a life time event..... even Elizabeth Taylor only married what 7 times?  But as a home sewer I was in there all the time, sometimes several times a week depending on the project. 

    I do go to Walmart, but with dramatically less frequency.

    1. Goldenrod | | #8

      Walmart is a good place to shop. The chain brings a broad range of products at good prices to everyone. True equality and freedom. Everyone is greeted and treated with courtesy. No snobby store clerks.The loss of fabric is frustrating. In the past, Walmart had been the source of wonderful prices on good quality fabric. Several years ago, Walmart, like the chain fabric stores, started having fabric of unknown fiber content. The quality of fabric has become deplorably bad. Notions are limited. The button selection is tiny and not being restocked.One way to kill a business is to offer bad quality.Fabric is no longer manufactured in the US. Cheap fabric costs much more than even five years ago. Ready made clothing is cheaper than sewing garments. Sadly I think Walmart wants to kill that part of their business because it does not profit them, and the reduction in quality will achieve their goal.In free enterprise a need or demand for products will create a source. Can the local fabric store return? Or will on-line shopping improve to match the need? Will another store chain take up sewing fabric and supplies?

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #9

        From what I can figure, the loss of the fabric department at WalMart is a staffing issue. It is a department that needs someone there all the time who has knowledge of sewing. It is not a self-serve department like most of the store. It requires more man hours to maintain than other departments. On a square foot per dollar basis, fabric takes up too much space. The large cutting table would be considered non profitable use of space. As far as the bean counters are concerned, that space could be filled with faster moving, more profitable merchandise. Cathy

        1. Cityoflostsouls | | #16

          I live in Southeastern Colorado in a huge county but sparsely populated altho there are several small towns.  We had our County Fair this week and there were 6 sewing entries for the children and two were little boys.  At the local monthly auction there are always 2 to 3 sewing machines for sale.  Walmart is a 20 t0 30 or 40 mile drive for these people and they have downsized their sewing department to nothing.  Any other place is an all day excursion with most of the time spent driving.  These people used to make most of their clothing and there are still some quilters.  In many areas the shop closures and Walmart downsizing has practically eliminated sewing.  The schools eliminated all of their home economics classes and sold their equipment.  For rural areas of our country this is really hurting the sewing industry.  It sometimes makes you feel that rural people (especially farmers and ranchers) just don't count in the scheme of things.  If you can buy thread or zippers you can't match your colors and don't ask for anything but Coats and Clark.  I walk through Walmarts abbreviated department and go home.  Unfortunately I don't think anything will change.  I have fabric and supplies I will probably never use up but if I need anything it has to be in my house.  I occasionally use the internet but how do you match things?  Only 6 sewing entries at the fair is still unbelievable.

          1. User avater
            KraftyKandi | | #17

            This breaks my heart to hear ... such a loss! The "American Way" is being destroyed by big business, the the fact that kids won't learn this craft is truly disheartening.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #27

            I hear ya. I am a rural resident as well, and am driving further and further as well for just about everything. The local family run department store type shops have closed, and now I HAVE to go into the city for most good clothing and shoe purchases. I try to shop locally, and try to shop for North American made products as well. It is getting to be almost impossible... I believe in keeping my money in my local area, and support the jobs at home. Cathy

          3. Cityoflostsouls | | #32

            I am going to miss all of you so much but due to circumstances I need to go off the internet for at least the next few months until I get some problems straightened out.  I have loved these discussions and really feel like I have met so many good, helpful people.  Maybe I can get some sewing done during my isolation from the internet.  Happy sewing to all of you  You are so kind and helpful to everyone.  Happy sewing!  I will vanish as of Tuesday.  Sue

          4. sewfar | | #33

            I know that we will all miss you and we will look forward to your return and hearing from you again.  Yours post were always so interesting.  Best of luck with your endeavors!

          5. Cityoflostsouls | | #34

            Thank you.  When I can come back I'll identify myself.  Sue

          6. User avater
            KraftyKandi | | #35

            Bye, Sue! We'll miss you and your experience ... until next time (hopefully soon!) Kandi

          7. Cityoflostsouls | | #36

            What wonderful people  I had to postpone until the morning to answer the great emails I have had.  I'll talk to you all later when life looks up a bit.

          8. Ceeayche | | #37

            Bye Sue!

            Feel the love of your gatherings friends as you go through it. We'll be here on the other side of your storm!  We can't wait to hear what you create while you're away.

          9. Cityoflostsouls | | #38

            I think almost everyone reads your messages so I am sending this to you.  I get my internet thru Century Tel and they have a special program in this economy so that by reducing my internet speed and going on a one year contract for service I have been able to reduce my internet to $6.00 a month so I can manage that.  The companies do not notify people of these options when they are available so people need to call in every so often.  Each company I'm sure is different and my internet is through my phone company.  It was like a Christmas present to be able to do this so I can stay with you all. The girl told me I had called just in time.  It took me awhile to come to terms with giving up my internet which was about $35.00 a month.  Now if the government would just realize that at 8 my son is not old enough to get a job (thats what they told me-he could get a job) life may get back to normal.  I am so thrilled to be able to stay with all of you.  When cost cutting you go by $5.00 $10.00 and $20. increments.  You cut wherever you can., Happy sewing to all of you.

          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #39

            I am so happy to hear that you can stay with us. It must brighten your spirits so much. I understand completely how hard it is when times get tough. There are so many insensitive people out there who do not understand the needs of parents with children with handicaps either. Hang in there. (((()))) Here is a HUGE hug from a parent who knows. Just know that there are people who care. Cathy

          11. Cityoflostsouls | | #40

            Thanks so much Cathy-you're a wonderful caring person.  With a one year contract and lower speed I can keep my internet for $6.00 a month-there are companies who care and my phone company is one of them.  Happy sewing!

  5. alotofstitches | | #10

    I went to Wal-Mart website and sent a complaint regarding another matter.  They responded immediately and then the local manager responded.  I was very impressed!   Locally, we have 2 super size stores.  One has fabric and the other does not.  It seems the fabric dept. is getting smaller and smaller though.  I fear it will be gone soon.  I hardly ever see anyone shopping in the fabric dept. so it's no wonder if it does disappear.

    1. Ceeayche | | #11

      I've tried using their website in the past (on a local store issue) , and got no response.  But I'll try again, maybe staff has changed at headquarters.

      1. User avater
        KraftyKandi | | #12

        I was so glad to see the post on this subject! About 4 years ago,I bought my Brother electric sewing machine from Walmart after comparing it to other brands in the area and I got it for about $70 less than I could online. I was so excited, and also bought some easy cotton fabric and notions. Two weeks later, I went in for more fabric and the whole department was gone! No notice whatsover. We have about 3 Walmarts in about a 30 mile radius, so I went to all of them and NO FABRIC sections anywhere ... I was so upset.I, too, complained to the manager AND sent a letter, as did other patrons there looking for fabric, and I never heard one word back. I ended up going to Joanns Fabric and had to pay three times the cost for the most basic cotton print fabric, the same fabric that I had bought at Walmart.I hope the powers-that-be at corporate hear our cries. I agree that the quality was poor on a lot of their fabrics, and now that I have improved my sewing skills and am now using pricier fabric, Walmart was a great, inexpensive way for hobby sewers and kids to learn how to sew (inexpensively).

        1. sewfar | | #13

          I loved to shop Wal Mart fabric because in our area the bargain table always had some at least very good quality cloth left over from the garment industry as well as occasional interfacing, linings sometimes with designer logos etc. And for instance they carried Marie Englebreit prints by the bolt as well so in our area it was not all poor quality and attracted the experienced sewer as well as the beginner. The department here was always busy.
          I am sure the demise of the U.S. sewing industry, and fabric availability has played a part in Wal Mart's decision. Also the fact that for now most home sewing here is done for hobbies and with the downturn in the economy they may have seen their sales diminish. But I do feel that Wal Mart in particular is market driven and if they feel there is a market for fabric and upholstery and their "festival" and "guy" hobby items that are a one time purchase are not moving so well, they will rethink the use of space. And they probably are smart enough to realize that women still are the ones doing the shopping for grocery items and clothing and the need to keep us coming back. Just in case, I will continue to petition them. as an aside, I would like to add that I am a big time bargain hunter and penny pincher but I have really learned the hard way that I do need to give more support to businesses that I love having around so that I do not have to lament loudly when they close. Sometimes a penny saved for me has not been a penny earned as I am having to drive much further to find less choice and often empty shelves.

          Edited 8/1/2009 3:13 pm ET by sewfar

        2. jjgg | | #18

          The quality of fabric you buy at Walmart, Joanns anda quality quilt shop is not the same. You may get the same print, from the same manufacture in all 3 stores but the greig goods that the fabric is printed on is very very different. Manufactures will print fabric for different places, some on high quality goods, some on cheap. That's why you get the same thing for different prices - it's just NOT the same thing.

          1. starzoe | | #19

            I wish people would believe this; WalMart, etc. wouldn't find it financially profitable to sell high-end fabrics at discount prices. As someone pointed out, WM is in the market to make money.Another fallacy is that Value Village is a charity. True, it does donate to charity and makes a big effort to point that out to enquirers, but they buy cheap, cheap, cheap in bulk from charities who(under their own name), collect donations. I don't donate to charities who sell donations to Value Village. In the end, V.V. is yet another profit-making entity.In this economy, a consumer has to be astute and informed.....actually that is true any time.

            Edited 8/6/2009 1:28 pm ET by starzoe

          2. Ceeayche | | #20

            Just curious, why don't you donate to charities who sell to Value Village?  Doesn't the money that value village pays for the goods goes to the work of the charity?

          3. starzoe | | #21

            It would, but going through a middle man (V.V.) greatly decreases the amount the item would realize at a charity shop. I like to see where my donation ends up.Buy low, sell high - that's how V.V. makes its money, and that's the reason it's so profitable to them.

          4. Ceeayche | | #24

            I understand your point of view now.  thanks.

          5. Gloriasews | | #26

            Thanks so much for the info on Value Village - I had no idea they operated in that manner.  Both you & Jigg have enlightened my day :)

          6. rbjohn | | #29

            I found out last week that our local Walmart is also closing their fabric department. In this town, there is one other store, an expensive quilt store. Joann's fabric is only 60 miles away, LOL I have been writing without success.

            I do not drive and cannot afford the quilt store prices. When the fabric department is closed, I will have no need to shop at Walmart anymore. We have Amish who shop there who live 40 miles away. I doubt they'll bother when the fabric department is closed, this seems to be what they buy at Walmart.

            Yes Walmart is in business only to make money, but when they stop listening to their customers, they may start to lose money.

            Have you ever gone into a business that offers you a cup of coffee or a piece of candy. They make no money from this practice but it helps keep customers coming in.  Walmart might find out they need a sewing department just to keep some of the customers coming in.

            Customers have two mighty weapons available, Their money and their voice. Without customers, there would be no business. Please complain loudly!!! And frequently.



          7. jjgg | | #30

            After moving out of Houston last year, I'm in a place where there is not the selection of fabric stores I was used to. There is no Joanns here, but there is a Hancocks that is not worth looking at. There are a couple of 'Foam and Fabric outlets' but they don't have quality dressmaking fabric. There are 2 very small but very nice dressmaking stores, but the prices are ridiculous.I have taken to doing nearly all my fabric shopping on line. I have a few places I get swatches from (this is very dangerous coz the swatches are fabulous. Sawyer Brooks has great fabrics, and the prices are not too bad, Fashion Fabric club has great prices and some very fine fabrics.If you see something that you don't have a swatch for you can always ask for one. NO this is not instant gratification that we all like, but it does get me nice fabric for less money.(btw, the fabric stores in Houston were also very expensive)but I could satisfy my instant gratification needs at times.)

          8. User avater
            Thimblefingers | | #31

            The Wal-Mart fabric departments are closing here in Edmonton as well.  The store 1 block away from me has very little fabric anymore and as there is not a fabric store near here, I'd often run in for buttons or thread or notions.  Then, I'd check out the fabric, sometimes find a great deal and purchase other items.  Last week I went to purchase 3 pieces of fabric but there was no one there.  Another lady who was waiting said she'd been there for an hour.  The table was piled with bolts she said had been people waiting and gone.  I finally went and asked for someone to be paged.  I did this several times over the next 45, yes, 45 minutes.  Still no response.  I finally gathered up my bolts and headed for customer service.  When they say me coming, they rushed out and said "oh no, you must not bring the fabric here - you have to get it cut in the fabric department".  I explained (LOUDLY) that I HAD indeed been there for 45 minutes and asked for numerous pages with no response.  I asked them to cut it for me and they said they don't know how to cut fabric.  I said, that's fine.  I know how to cut so come and watch me and I'll do it myself.  They said they'd page someone else.  20 minutes later as I was standing in the aisle, still waiting, I noticed the phone on the post and was seriously comtemplating picking it up and making an announcement on the intercom.  Fortunately, a woman came to cut the fabric right then.  She said there was supposed to be someone in that department but no one knew where she was.  She was the only other person in the store who knew how to cut but she was on supper break.  DO YOU WONDER WHY THEIR FABRIC DEPARTMENT ISN'T MAKING ANY MONEY?!!  That evening I had time to kill so I waited.  Many other times I've finally dumped the fabric and left as it appeared at least 5 customers had done during the time the other lady was waiting.  By the time my fabric was cut, there was a line up of 5 or 6 other women.  Obviously, they are creating the problem themselves as an excuse to get rid of the department.  

          9. User avater
            KraftyKandi | | #22

            Thank you for this information ... I didn't know that. I do know that the same cotton blouse I made from Walmart fabric for my daughter, came out exactly the same as the identical (I thought until now) fabric I bought for more at Joanns, then made for my other daughter. They both washed up the same, cut the same, drape the same.I'll file this info away for future reference.

          10. jjgg | | #23

            There is a great book by Harriet Hargrave "From Fiber To Fabric". She takes you from the cotton field to the manufacturing process. she talks about color fastness etc. Its a fascinating book, Probably about 20 yrs old now,

          11. Gloriasews | | #25

            Wow!  I had no idea that fabric manufacturers did that - printed the exact same patterns on different qualities of fabric!  No wonder Walmart can sell their quilting fabric for half the price - but still, the fabric I've bought there is as close a weave & has the same feel as the quilt shop fabric.  Who knew?  Thanks for the info.

          12. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #28

            Good point Jigg.
            One of the hardest things to teach about fabric is how to judge the quality of the greig (grey) goods used in prints. It is this that the price is based on. Generally, the higher the price, the better the quality fiber used, higher twist to the thread used, and higher thread count.
            Two fabrics of a similar weight and thread count can have different quality fibers used, thus a different price point. The difference will not show up in the sewing and hang of the garment, but will show up years later in the wear of the garment. The lesser priced fabric may use a shorter staple length, and develop a fuzz, while the more expensive one does not. Cathy

  6. BellaGabriella | | #14

    Walmart is a business and they are in business to make money. Wouldn't you be? Electronics, sports, housewares, car care, and groceries are what sells - bottom line. They did not start to offer fabric to compete with LFS or JoAnns stores. Compare it to cross stitch. When I started in the '80's, cross stitch stores were everywhere. Now you basically have to order online or visit Michaels or AC Moore who don't turn their inventory too much.

    I don't think it matters where you buy fabric, what matters is how the quality of the fabric matters to you. I've bought great fabric at Walmart for $4 yd and seen the same at JoAnn's for $8 a yard. I've also seen some pretty crappy fabric at JoAnn's for the same price. You can go to your LQS for decent fabric but can you pay $9 yard? Every time? Some can but not me. Luckily I have a decent size fabric stash!

    I don't think boycotting will help. If they offered sewing machine instruction or general sewing instructions the fabric dept may have been more lucrative. I often wondered why they didn't.

    1. Pammypoo | | #15

      I am not asking for a boycott, I wanted all of us to write to the new CEO and try to get them to keep or bring back fabric in the stores that it has been taken out of.  The Wal Mart's in North Central Minnesota have 1/2 of their DAILY sales in the fabric departments.  ONE HALF is a considerable amount. 

       Maybe those of us who are professionals at our craft or have no children learning to sew, or grand children; don't care and that is fine, but there should be enough of us teaching children or have children leaning how to sew and don't want to spend $9 a yard for an apron that will never be worn, but is needed for a class project.

      Personally, I want the option.  I also know that not all of us up here are employed by companies and we do our own crafts in the winter to sell in the summer tourist season.  These are the ones I am trying to help and if it helps me in the process I won't complain.

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