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  • Find an Independent Shop – Beta Test Our New Database

    Posted on July 14th, 2009 Sarah 44 comments


    One of the things that we’ve heard over and over again from fabric shoppers is that you want to shop independents, but don’t know where to find the shops. So, when The Fabric Shop Network, Inc began the Project 95: Fabric Shoppers Unite Campaign this spring, we made the creation of a searchable database of independent shops a big priority.

    We are extremely excited to announce that we are  ready to start beta-testing our new searchable map & database of independent quilt shops & fabric stores!

    So give it whirl. If there are problems you find or suggestions for how we can improve, leave a comment on this post, or drop us an email at sarah [dot] moon [at] fabshopnet [dot] com. Your feedback is deeply appreciated.

    Check out the new searchable database right here.

    Please note: This system is in beta-testing for the U.S. only. If you have feedback, please try to be as detailed as possible–it helps us work out any kinks before formally rolling out the system. Also, we are aware of an issue with the ZIP Codes in New England that begin with “0″–and are working on a fix.

44 Responses to “Find an Independent Shop – Beta Test Our New Database”

  1. Great search engine, but instead of just showing the search results on the map as a flag, I think adding the names (direct link) of those shops under tha map would be beneficial as well. Sometimes there are multiple shops found within the search and with the shop flags on top of each other, it is difficult to click on a specific flag. Hope that makes sense.

  2. I never knew Oregon was a quilter’s haven… until I moved there. That pic just proves it!

    What about those of us who have an online shop, but not a brick and mortar?

  3. Online shops do appear, but they are pulled according to geography. We would love your feedback on how online shops should appear.

    To view the shops in my detail, use the zoom tool.

    As we get feedback, we’ll likely develop a brief how-to on using the map interface.

    Thank you for your quick feedback!

  4. How are you pulling these results? It looks like something I would get by typing “fabric” into my iPhone. I think it’s a fantastic idea but you need some sort of independent verification that the shops included do indeed exist. I have been burned MANY times driving around trying to find stores that are out of business or are online only and listed with the person’s home address on either google maps/yellow pages or on fabric vendors’ sites. I also sadly discovered a fantastic shop 1 month before she was going out of business because no one could find her – because neither “fabric” nor “quilt” were in the name of her shop and she was not listed on any searches. It would also be extremely helpful, although not necessary, to have what types of fabric they specialize in. Reproduction, novelty, apparel fabrics, home dec, solid colors, etc… we only have 1 store in the area that has solids! Some are strictly quilts and some are open to people who make bags/aprons/clothing/etc. I would love to find out who has the more modern designer fabrics!

    Online shops should be grouped by state in a separate section – I like to check those closest to me first for cheapest/shortest shipping before ordering from the other side of the country. Or simply list them alphabetically. Adding them to the map is confusing. It’s cool that my neighbor has an online store, but I don’t think she wants me knocking on her door! :)

    On my map I see one fantastic shop is missing (Tammy Tadd – Sycamore, IL = http://www.tammytadddesigns.com/) and one store listed that is out of business (My Sisters Quilt Shop – La Fox, IL) There are also no phone numbers and a lot of the websites listed are invalid/incorrect.

    I’m sure that if possible, users would be more than happy to contribute to verifying this information and adding shops that were missed! It might be much more helpful to have it laid out in list form and each person could take their 25 mile radius and verify it? Obviously your staff can’t call every fabric shop in the country, but could you add a form at the bottom for users to submit changes/additions? It would also be fantastic if you could allow reviews. I don’t even care if you require people keep it positive, I would just like to know a shop exists and that someone else has been there before driving 20 miles to go visit it! :)

    Sorry for the long post. I really like your idea! Good luck with it and have fun in “beta”!

    OH! Also – To all fabric shop owners who might be reading – I am 100 times more likely to visit your store if you have a website that has at least your current contact information and looks like it has been updated recently. So many of them are outdated, incorrect, have newsletters from 2005, or don’t even exist so I have no idea what type of store you are or if you are even still in business. I Google everything first and I’m sure I’m not alone. I recommend you just get a BLOG, like from wordpress, typepad, blogger, etc and keep a monthly journal/newsletter of what’s going on in your shop along with your contact info. You can even register a domain name for $8 (godaddy.com) and forward it to your blog! I’m mostly looking to find out about classes/events and the type of fabric you carry. I know it’s not the first thing on everyone’s mind but there is a whole new generation of “Sewists” out there and we could be easily reached by something like this! I WANT to shop local, I hate the poor quality fabric and poor service at the big box stores, but I can only put so much effort into it. You must also do part of the work so that I can find you :) THANKS!

  5. I’d like to be able to enter a city so I don’t have to look up zip codes when travelling.
    Great Site! I wish I’d known about it on my recent road trip.

  6. In searching my NJ zip code I got one listing for a shop in TX. So I typed in a NYC zip code and got the tri-state area. Some of the website links didn’t work (one was actually mis-spelled by a letter). I also found one shop in Brooklyn that seems to no longer exist.

    Great idea- and start- though, just needs some fine tuning.

  7. The information is from a database which we have compiled over the course of many years–all are indeed fabric shops or design studios. If you find typos or errors, please email us at using the Contact Us tab–we really appreciate it. We’re going to continually keep fine-tuning this, so we appreciate all the feedback we can get.


  8. I am really excited about this searchable database! I know it isn’t perfect yet, but I am a new sewer and don’t know where anything is. So this is a great start for me! Lists could be nice, but I actually really like the map. It helps me find the stores closest to me the fastest- especially being in an area that is new to me (just moved). I also really like that the website like is right there.

    And I second the other reader’s comment to fabric stores- updated websites so that I know that the store is still open- especially in this economy where stores like this are closing- is really helpful!

  9. Hi – I’d love to find an independent shop! I’m in Australia and I followed your instructions and ended up with one flag off the coast of Western Africa. Do you have any Australian listings?

  10. When I put in our zip I got a shop in TX – we are in MA – I love the idea and can’t wait for you to work out the bugs – Thanks

  11. Thanks, everyone–we so appreciate your putting the system through its paces so that we can really make the system work properly!

    Mel – I believe that there are Australian shops in the database. I’ll have to research that.

    Becki – Your the second person who has mention a TX shop popping up in New England. I imagine there’s a typo in a ZIP somewhere… We’ll investigate.

  12. This would be enormously useful for me, since there are so very few good independent fabric shops in the UK, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any. Are there any listings for Europe at all?

  13. Elizabeth Durand

    I love this idea, and will use this site a lot. I agree with someone earlier who suggested that it would be useful to search by state — if you’re away from home, you don’t necessarily know what zip code you’re in. And, frankly, there are quite a lot around me (in the Philadelphia area) so the markers do tend to overlap, and it’s hard to tell which town is being pinpointed. Also, I’m pretty sure one of the shops listed in my area has been closed for several years; I’ll write to you privately about that. So yes, it would be good to check to make sure the shop still exists before posting it on your site. Wonderful project, though, and I’m all for it!!

  14. I tried a NH zip and a Massachusetts one and both returned that same Texas shop (without a zipcode).

  15. Let me restate that. Both returned ONLY a Texas shop with no zipcode.

  16. I would put the pins in a different color for the online only stores and maybe have an option to filter them out. And I second the request to show the address info underneath and number the pins.

  17. Oh and if you can get phone numbers listed then you can suggest that people call the shop to make sure they’re open.

  18. I too am coming up with a TX shop in New England. Looking forward to coming back when the bug is gone!

  19. For some reason, I can’t see the map on my web browser. I’m in Linux (Ubuntu), so that might have something to do with it. Is there any type of plug-in that I need? I can use plain Google Maps without a problem. Thanks!

  20. Apparently there are no shops within 100 miles of Aiken, South Carolina. All I get is a blank map, perhaps you could put up some sort of indication that no shops were found.

  21. When I enter my Maine zip code, Google maps shows me a big blank blue area. When I zoom out, I discover that I’m on the southern coast of Africa?? Maine zip codes begin with a zero, could that be the problem?

  22. If your ZIP begins with a “0,” you’re experiencing problem we no about and are working on fixing. Thanks!

  23. Jennifer – I was in the system doing a fix about the time you logged in, so the map disappeared for about a half hour. Try it again now, and you should be fine. I’m sure Linux works with this mapping system.

  24. [...] 95 just launched the beta version of its humongous independent fabric shop database. Please help them make it better [...]

  25. Hi,

    This is an awesome idea, but it’s seriously out of date for my area. My zip is 94952 — Petaluma CA. Fabric Therapy just goes to a dead web site — I’m pretty sure this shop has been closed for years. Sunflower Fine Fabrics in San Anselmo is also a dead link. I don’t know if the store still exists. Also, the two main fabric shops in Petaluma are missing — The Quilted Angel (www.quiltedangel.com) and Stitchcraft (www.stitchcraftonline.com)

    Also, when I search for shops within a 25 mile radius, one shop in Berkeley comes up — that’s a good 40 miles away, not less than 25.

    And there’s only 1 shop listed in San Francisco? I don’t shop in the city a ton, but I’m pretty sure there are WAY more fabric stores there than that :-)

    As for other feedback, I really love the map idea, but it’s a little awkward for the 50-mile radius search — you have to sort of drag the map around to see all the stores. It’d be nice if the map zoom automatically adjusted when you search a wider radius, so that all the pins show up on the default, without dragging. Then, you can zoom if you want to.

    Thanks for this great resource!

  26. This is great, I would love to see the same thing for yarn and cross stitch shops as well. My dh & I travel all over the Western state skiing, so I love to check out the local shop while he’s up on the slopes and I get to enjoy myself too.

  27. I think it would be helpful to indicate if they are online only – because I would hate to pull up to someone’s house if I use this to locate stores while I’m on vacation or something.

  28. none of the “contact” links work for me — I get error messages. I was trying to send some updates for my area (94602)

    (I especially liked Tina’s comment — too funny!)

  29. I really, really love this idea!

    I was waiting for a list of details to appear below the map (numbered shops, instead of having to hover over a flag to figure out where it was), so something like that could be an improvement.

    Also, one of my favorite local shops is missing (and I was just there tonight spending a load of money)

    Guildcrafters in Berkley, MI http://guildcrafters.wordpress.com/

    Thanks for putting this together. I travel a lot and I’m always looking for independent shops!

  30. @Julie Hmmmm… I’ve gotten a ton of emails through the links, so they appear to be working. Why don’t you try to send an email to sarah [dot] moon [at] fabshopnet [dot] com with your feedback? I’d love to hear your updates! Thanks!

  31. When I put in my NJ zip it pulls up a shop in Texas. But if I put in a philadelpia zip it includes all of the NJ Shops.

    Great idea.

  32. This is an idea with lots of potential but I think there are a few glitches to be worked through. I live in southeastern Wisconsin, with lots of quilt shops, but when I search with my zipcode and even a 75 mile radius, I get exactly NOTHING. ???

  33. Great idea; however, I think there should be other ways to search. For instance, I’m a Canadian (I’m aware that currently the beta version is only up for the US), who lives in a tiny little town about 130km to Toronto. I travel there about once a month and would love to know where all the independent shops are located; however, if the search criteria remains the way it is presently, then I would be unable to quickly search for fabric shops. I would be limited to 100miles from my postal code, which would most likely, not include Toronto.

    The same would be true for those who are traveling, and wish to shop at new & different places. An example, I’m traveling down to Texas this fall, stopping along the way. But I don’t know the zip codes for the various places I will be staying. Limiting the search to zip codes and distance, makes the process trickier and laborious for certain circumstances.

  34. I agree that the results should include a list of shops that were returned as well as the map. It would be GREAT to have something you could print out in a list form for when you are going out of town,…. Thanks!

  35. I tried searching with my nj zip code and it puts me in the middle of the ocean near Africa. couldn’t find any fabric shops :)

  36. checked again with a pa zip code where my inlaws live and there are stores listed that haven’t been in business for years. how are you verifying the stores listings?

  37. @yahaira If you enter a ZIP with a leading “0,” you will get odd results–this is a problem we know about and are working on. We cannot physically verify every one of the thousands of stores in the database, so if you see errors, please let us know so that we can delete outdated information or make updates. We really appreciate it!

    Thank you.

  38. This is fantastic! I’m looking forward to shopping at these independent stores. I have a few suggestions about the map/database, though.

    After I click search, the parameters I entered disappear. It would be nice to retain those in case I want to tweak the search (e.g., same zip but increased mileage scope). I also would like a larger map, a numbered list showing the results (similar to Lowe’s store locator), and the total number of results found. I agree with Erin’s comments/suggestions, too.

    Keep up the great work!

  39. Great start! I noticed a number of errors in information – Gingersnap Junction’s website listed for Nifty Needle in Ohio and some closed shops (Ohio Farm House). Do you need or want specific feedback on these?

  40. @Carolyn – We’d love specific feedback. While we’ve done our best to make sure the info is current and up-to-date, it’s a challenging endeavor. We appreciate any clean up from folks who are “on the ground.”

    Thank you.

  41. I tried the search in Georgia. One link in the metro Atlanta is for Christmas Shoppe in Tx. Second attempt to do a search for GA zip code did not produce any result.
    I will try again later.

  42. i’ve been trying to search by zip code and expanding to 100 mile radius and return no results. i live in LA, CA and i know several independent fabric and yarn stores within the 15 miles radius, at least some of them should show up. as a matter of fact, it looks like the search page might be resetting instead of searching.

  43. Denise in Kent, WA

    Fantastic idea! Looking forward to seeing the database evolve and mature. My request for enhancement would be to allow filtering by fabric type. For example, although I love quilt shops it would occasionally be nice to filter them out so I can more easily locate shops that have specialty dressmaking fabrics. Thanks for providing this helpful resource!

  44. I agree with the ability to look for stores that carry apparel not quilt shops. I don’t quilt and really, really could use apparel fabric.