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Design Stores

Fabricland

Posted by Staff / Posted on March 19, 2012

FabriclandFabricland has been selling its fabrics and sewing materials in Toronto since 1968. Although the company has diversified over the years in offering craft materials, sewing-free home decor kits, and drapery, it remains a solid-go to for fabrics in a variety of materials, including silk, wool, and cotton. There are two locations in Toronto, and many more in the GTA.

Discussion

14 Comments

Dorothy Tait / March 24, 2012 at 08:53 pm
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Recently Simplicity patterns were on sale for $2.20. There used to be a different brand of patterns on sale each new week. Lately I have not seen any other patterns except for 50% off which is not such a good sale. For example, Vogue used to be under $6.00 when on sale. Why are there no great pattern sales any more?

Thanks,
Dorothy
JJ / November 25, 2012 at 09:55 am
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I am broken hearted as Fabricland has been closing all over the city ie North York (the one near Finch I think? I forget the street) which was huge and fabulous, the one at Yonge and Bloor. In fact other than the North York one near Yorkdale I dont know of any fabricland stores downtown any more. And I didnt even phone the north york one to see if IT is still open. Sad and kinda pissed off about these closings.
Lady V / March 31, 2013 at 03:14 pm
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I'd usually share the same sentiment of the poor unfortunate Canadian business going out of business due to this, that, or whatever. Truthfully though, there will be no love lost if the entire chain goes under. I've had the "pleasure" of shopping at the North York location years ago, Barrie a couple of years ago and recently the Newmarket location has become my local. I can say that the stores are consistent in the dark atmosphere, disorganized merchandise and surly staff. I was privy to overhearing a customer asking for advice on starting up a sewing box for her daughter. Instead of the staff member getting excited about helping a mom get her daughter into sewing, the woman didn't take a single step forward and simply pointed across the store to indicate where the sewing boxes and notions were, with no other advice or support. I'm looking forward to JoAnn Fabrics coming up to Canada to finally put Fabricland out of its misery!!
RL / November 8, 2013 at 08:20 am
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Went to fabricland last night,service was terrible, I had a woman raise her voice at me and point in a direction where a certain item was that I was looking for, and this is what you call help! The selection of fabric , well not exacting a quilters dream, and the prices are disgusting, even with the membership. I hope every store goes under, and I will be buying my fabrics online from the usa with the expensive shipping prices at least I am getting nice modern quilting fabric!
Kristine / November 20, 2013 at 03:29 pm
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Do you have any Mermaid fabric?
I am trying to make a Twin size Duvet cover for my daughter for Christmas!
Thank you
Jackie / March 16, 2014 at 03:00 am
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I have found that the customer service has been great. I usually go to the Markham location (McCowan & 7) and the Woodbridge location (Weston & 7) and have only had helpful staff. They are patient and give advice which is greatly appreciated by a sewing newbie like myself.

I can say that sometimes their selection isn't always fabulous, and their sewing club program should be more flexible (it only starts In sept, and ends in august. You can't have a full year's membership from any other date of the year). Their halloween sales make up for it though :)
K Jacobs / June 30, 2014 at 08:10 pm
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A very annoying experience at the Markham location today. It was the first time using my membership since purchasing it in May, 2014. I did not have my card on me but I did have my membership number and my receipt showing that I purchased the membership in May. I guess that was not good enough and I was told that I would have to wait for 2 hours for head office to get back to the store to see if I could get my member discount. I was also told that if I couldn't find my card that I would have to pay a $10 replacement fee for the remaining month I have on my membership. I decided to go ahead with my purchase as the discount would have been $12 and I couldn't wait as I had to get to work. (I now wish I had left the cut material on the counter and walked out). I was told that if I brought in my membership card then I could get a refund. I went home and called the store back saying I found my card and that I would come in to get my refund. I was told that they didn't say that when they had just said it 10 minutes prior. (What happened to the customer is always right?) I tried getting through to head office but no luck.

I can't believe this store is so antiquated that I have to carry a membership card (with no bar code by the way) and can't just give my membership number. In the days of computers and smart phones, most up to date companies can look up a membership by a phone number, customer name, etc. If Fabricland wants to survive as a business, they need to be more up to date as their future customer base does not carry every customer membership or loyalty card with them at all times. Perhaps if the customer service improved, they wouldn't have to close so many stores.

I also have to say the selection is pretty poor and it was difficult to find what I was looking for. I definitely won't be giving them any more of my money...there are other fabric stores in the GTA!
Sharlene Harper / January 18, 2015 at 08:48 pm
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Went into Frabric Land in Lethbridge Alberta to look for cushion covers. Four women watched me walking around the whole store looking for them with no one offering me any help. Went to Calgary to buy them and was told that I needed a membership to get the sale. How ridiculous ,a membership for pre made cushion covers .I purchased them many times before without a membership. This isn't Costco people it's a Frabric store. You should follow Walmart's concept ,great deals and they take every one's money. I can see why you are closing stores,you have such owley people working for you.
Anna / February 14, 2015 at 04:33 pm
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Just came from the new location at Honest Ed's and it was a total waste of time. The store so far is in keeping with the low grade cheap quality of wares found in Honest Ed's.

Too bad. I was happy another downtown location popped up but after this visit I feel if they continue business in this fashion they will go the way of Target.

Asked a staff person a question about members' discount and she told me she didn't know and just walked away. When I asked another one about the home décor stock she acknowledge they stock wasn't good and told me other Fabricland stores are no better, which is a lie because I have been to them. Save everyone the Trouble and close down now.

I feel cheated out of the time I wasted at that store when I could have been at home cleaning my bathroom. Save yourself the pain and close this waste of time Store!!!
Avid Sewer / April 23, 2015 at 06:33 pm
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As a home sewer, I like to visit fabric stores where ever I travel to – in Canada, the States, Europe, and the Orient.

So I think I have a lot of experience as a fabric shopper.
I am a long-time Fabricland customer, and have shopped its stores throughout the GTA on a regular basis.

Over the past five years, I have become increasingly disenchanted with being a Fabricland shopper. It seems to be in the process of becoming an awful place to shop, and from what I can see and hear, a horrible place to work. Here are some of my complaints.

Locations
The company is continuing to close stores, which is causing me to travel more than I wish. Perhaps there needs to be a small ‘express’ version, or a pick-up depot for everyday needs. It is simply not worth making a trip for a small item, or if one has to travel far to get to the store.

Fabric Quality
The quality of the fabrics is continually decreasing. It used to have quite nice fabrics. Now it is quite common to find high-priced fabrics (e.g. $20 or more per meter) with holes, imperfections, print errors and other major flaws. This is an ongoing thing, not a one-off.

I am also finding that management often refuses to compromise on a small price reduction, or is reluctant to cut off the flawed area. That is irritating to me.

Poor fabric quality extends even to the “ends” – which are often sold at prices as high as $15 per metre before they are finally reduced. These “ends” are often mouldy-smelling, dirty, off-grain, stained, poorly woven, full of flaws, and the dye comes off when handled and/or washed.

Its stores are often disorganized and fabric areas are so messy that going through the fabric display areas is frustrating. The floor and tables are full of dust bunnies, which might be acceptable if the fabric was all bargain basement priced. Do they ever clean their tables?

Fabric Purchases
Perhaps my biggest complaint is the lack of care when cutting fabric. I have asked management and staff to provide “full” amounts purchased, yet when I get home and straighten the grain line, I am invariably short-changed – sometimes by only a few centimetres, but often by more than a few centimetres.

And many staff (including management) refuse to “rip” to ensure a straight initial grainline. The “allowances” that are given are often insufficient to compensate for incorrect grainlines, because they are guesses.

Some of the stores measure from the “fold” of the fabric, while others measure from the selvedge. Frustrating, because that often produces two different measurements.

It is often too inconvenient and costly (time and gas) to return to the store with the fabric that I have grain line-straightened and is less than ordered.

Management doesn’t seem to care about the situation. I am told to “bring it back”, but it is difficult to prove that I have been short-changed, especially if I need to cut and sew the item immediately.

But I do know that I have been forced to return and purchase additional fabric because I have not received what I thought I purchased. Often the fabric is gone, and I have a dilemma.

I have even been turned into the “culprit” by management for not buying enough fabric, when it is really management and staff who have cut poorly. I have even heard staff chided by management (in front of me) for ripping fabric prior to measuring in order to achieve a straight grainline from which to measure.

Management Treatment of Staff
I have been in many stores where I have personally heard management belittle the staff, often in front of me and other customers.

I have seen management (managers and assistant managers) following staff into the staff room and bathroom and reprimanding them for taking too much time with customers.

In my mind, it appears to be harassment. I would assume the staff is paid minimum wage and is obviously in need of keeping their jobs, so they hesitate to stand up for their rights.

I was horrified to learn that, in some stores, staff are encouraged to “rat” on their colleagues to management. I even heard management discussing this with a staff-member – “watch so and so” (i.e. a specific staff member). I would hope this is not typical, but through the years, I have listened and talked to staff and their statements confirm this is the case in some stores under some management.

Customer Service
I must admit that many, if not most, of the staff love helping customers. They do this freely and from their hearts.

But there are staff at every store who really are rude and obnoxious to customers, but I have learned to avoid them and stay with those who know how to treat me, the customer.

I could go on, but I better stop here. These represent my major complaints. Here are my summarized feelings:

SUMMARY
Fabric – “buyer beware” – Fabricland has a monopoly – and the prices and quality of the fabrics reflect this. Generally poor quality at fictitious “cheap” prices. Many fabrics sold are two or more years old (except for the new collections displayed).

Management – most managers and assistant managers really don’t care and appear to be under performance constraints. Most are rude to their staff and I have heard that customer complaints trickle back down to staff (as a negative criticism), rather than up to store and upper management.

If store and corporate management took responsibility, then staff would be happier and would be encouraged to, and free to, provide better customer service. There is a “toxic environment” in many stores which often can be detected.

I don’t know if they happen, but there should be secret performance reviews of management by the entire staff.

Staff – all are underpaid, overworked and under-valued. If a specific staff person is rude and uncaring – I find another sales associate who will answer my questions, help me, listen and provide good customer service. Management needs to take care of their employees better so that they can take better care of customers.

Finally, I would like to continue to be a Fabricland customer, but I am finding reasons to shop the alternatives, including online, where I get better service, higher quality and more choice, at better prices. I hope this critique helps to improve service and staff satisfaction.

Signed -- A frequent shopper – Toronto, Spring 2015.
LV / April 26, 2015 at 05:06 pm
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I was recently went to Fabricland in Toronto 1980 Eglinton ave. E. Three women - staff - behaved disgustingly. They loudly shouted at all shop, laughed, and they were very rude. Buyers looked confused. I never will go to this shop again. And also I will tell all my friends about this awful place 1980 Eglinton ave. East. I am sure, they will choose other place with normal adequate staff.
Kathryn / June 12, 2015 at 05:19 am
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I live on Vancouver island in a town called Duncan. We have a fabricland store here and I have been a faithful customer for the past 4 years. I have never found the staff to be anything bur completely professional and helpful. I'm sorry the previous writer has had a much different experience.
Haylee / June 30, 2015 at 06:49 pm
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Went in to the Dufferin and Orfus location to buy fabric for bridesmaids dresses. I was served by a lady named Svetlana - I have never encountered someone so rude and condescending. She told me that the fabric I chose was tacky and cheap, and that the amounts my seamstress told me to buy are wrong. She didn't offer help, just critique.
kathy / July 27, 2015 at 06:33 am
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Your sales associates really need to take classes on customer service. Im in retail and know how important it is. All stores get busy, learn to hamdle the situation instead of telling me " im busy dont have time to look for that" and then walk away. Really??

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