Don and Maxine, the original owners of Waynesville, Ohio’s, Fabric Shack had a “marriage-made-in-retail.” Don worked in the luggage department of Rollman’s Department Store in Cincinnati, while Maxine’s mom worked in the fabric department. Every day Maxine would bring her mom lunch, and that’s where she met Don. They married, had four daughters, and Maxine clothed them with her sewn creations. Don, ever interested in new business opportunities, bought a men’s shirting business called Fabric Shack at an antique mall and Maxine adapted her sewing skills to quilting and in 1984 they opened their shop. Just three years later they started carrying Moda fabrics.
Today, Don and Maxine’s daughter Jenny Wyrick owns Fabric Shack, which employs three generations of family members, including Jenny’s daughter Amanda. “She makes the store sparkle, and can recall virtually every piece of fabric we’ve ever had,” says Jenny. “She’s an indispensible cog in the wheel.” Some days Jenny’s granddaughter Chloe does data entry at Fabric Shack, making it a four-generation affair.
Waynesville is a small town between Dayton and Cincinnati, and draws lots of visitors from both cities, who appreciate the Fabric Shack’s selection of notions, quilt backings and battings, along with the friendly, knowledgeable staff. The also love the thousands of fabrics available. The shop carries between 10,000 and 12,000 bolts on site, and many thousands more through their active online business. (They pride themselves on offering half-price on their priority mail shipping: orders are typically sent out within a day or two of receiving them.)
“We buy full lines of nearly everyone’s fabrics and lots of precuts,” says Jenny. “I have never met a fabric I didn’t love.”
Fabric Shack has carried Moda fabrics for most of its 31 years. “My parents started buying Moda in 1987, and my dad and Mr. Dunn were fast friends,” says Jenny. “I cannot speak highly enough of Moda—they’re so interested in us succeeding!” Jenny credits her Moda rep, Mark Pytel (AKA Moda Mark), with doing a great job, but it goes beyond that. “You develop a friendship with your rep after so many years—he’s a great guy.”
Customers appreciate the many samples displayed throughout the store, which are stitched by Fabric Shack staff and by Maxine, who at 82 still challenges herself to improve her piecing. “She’s won ribbons in shows and continues to hone her skills,” says Jenny. “Last week she looked at her seams and said ‘I could deal with being 1/32nd of an inch off, but not 1/16th, and she took out five seams.”
Fabric Shop supports local charities, including donating fabric for quilts at local women’s and children’s shelters, and making pillowcase dresses for children in Africa. Jenny loves working with customers, and claims she learns as much from them as they do from her. “Quilters are so sharing,” she says. “It’s wonderful to be able to help supply them with what they need and want to make the quilts of their dreams.”
The family dearly misses Don, who passed away recently, and are grateful for the precedent he and Maxine established at Fabric Shack. “Our shop’s legacy is to offer a quality product at a very fair price, with great customer service,” says Jenny. It’s also to supply quilters with fantastic fabric. “I love cutting it and it’s a pleasure to handle each bolt. We get so many compliments on them—how does Moda keep making such beautiful fabric?”