Following up on the featured photo for Wordless Wednesday, I have to wax nostalgic about Mary Jo's Cloth Store. It's located off of the Cox Road exit on I-85 in Gastonia, NC. Seamstresses, quilt makers, decorators, brides-to-be, and stashaholics have been known to road trip across VA, NC, SC, GA, TN just to shop there. Have you ever been?
Mary Jo's is independent and family run. It was founded in 1951 by Margaret Colien Cloninger in the back of her father's grocery store in Dallas, North Carolina. Now it is HUGE! Imagine a Home Depot filled with nothing but fabric, trims, and notions. If you don't believe me check out the virtual tour.
The first time I went to Mary Jo's, probably 20 years ago, I was so overwhelmed I couldn't buy a thing. Not only is the selection off of the charts, the prices are low. Quilt makers you would be in HEAVEN. In my high stash, farmers' market days, I could spend $600 - $900 on a single trip to Mary Jo's.
I love going to Mary Jo's and was recently back scouting for linens, while visiting my family in NC. I was feeling quite nostalgic as my early days of quilt making and falling in love with fabrics came rushing back.
The culture is so down home. There must be over fifty women on the floor cutting fabric at any given time. Many of them old school. The sales associate cutting for me here is a spring chicken compared to some - I'm not kidding!
Although I still haven't been on a full tour of shops in the San Francisco Bay Area, I haven't found anything close in charcter, selection, and price. Of course Mary Jo's is situated in what was once the textile belt of the south, so it makes sense that there is a huge sewing, and fabric tradition established there.
If you are ever traveling down I-85 you have got to stop and shop! Let me hear about your recommendations. Do you have a gem of a fabric, yarn or craft shop you feel nostalgic for? What makes it so special? The material, the selection, the people, the prices?