Bethany Clough

Store closings hit fabric, rug and sports retailers in Valley

Hancock Fabrics is holding a going-out-of-business sale. The company is closing all its stores, including locations in Fresno and Clovis, after going bankrupt.
Hancock Fabrics is holding a going-out-of-business sale. The company is closing all its stores, including locations in Fresno and Clovis, after going bankrupt. bclough@fresnobee.com

Several major store closings is bad news for shoppers but good news for bargain hunters looking for fabric, rugs or sports equipment.

Two area Hancock Fabric stores, Home Fabrics and Rugs and Sport Chalet in Visalia are closing soon.

Although that means lots of discounts, be wary. Sometimes the bargains are not as good as they may seem.

You have heard that Hancock filed for bankruptcy back in February and announced then it was closing 70 of its more than 250 stores. Since it was a Chapter 11 bankruptcy – a reorganization – it meant there was some hope the remaining stores could survive (like what happened with the company’s 2007 bankruptcy).

But nope, all the stores are closing, the company acknowledged this month, including the ones at 5233 N. Blackstone Ave. in Fresno and the one at 1828 N. Clovis Ave.

No date has been set for the closings. Once the fabric and sewing supplies are gone, the store will close. That is likely many weeks – even months – away. Going-out-of-business sales have started with most fabric and home decor items marked down 30 percent and upholstery fabric discounted 40 to 50 percent in recent days.

But a warning to those hoping to clean up on cheap fabric: Make sure you’re getting a bargain.

A different company typically handles the liquidation sale of big retailers. It’s not just Hancock trying to clear out its shelves.

That other company has bought the contents of the store and the company’s assets at an auction and will resell them to you. That company isn’t doing this out of the kindness of its heart. They want to make money on the going-out-of-business sale.

The company handling Hancock’s liquidation is one of several that did Gottschalks and Mervyns liquidation sales.

Often those companies bring in other merchandise to sell. And they’ll often mark prices up before marking them down.

So although that bolt of pricey fabric seem like a good deal because it’s 40 percent off, the same item may still be cheaper at Jo-Ann’s Fabric & Craft Stores.

A quick Google search on your phone can help figure out if it’s a good deal.

Home Fabrics and Rugs

A much smaller chain, Home Fabrics and Rugs, at 36 E. Herndon Avenue in north Fresno in front of Costco, is also closing.

This family-owned store with owners based in Las Vegas is one of seven that is closing.

“The owner basically wants to go toward a website, rather than stores,” says store manager Stephen Rey.

The Fresno store could be open until the end of May, he says. A closing sale is happening, with $99 5- by 8-foot rugs and fabric selling for $3 a yard with a 3-yard minimum purchase.

“We don’t have a lot of fabric left but we have a lot of rugs left,” Rey says.

Sport Chalet

The parent company of Sport Chalet also has filed for bankruptcy and is closing all its stores under the Sport Chalet name. The sporting goods retailer has one store in the central San Joaquin Valley in Visalia.

That store, at 4145 S Mooney Blvd., will close in six to eight weeks.

All the stores mentioned in this column face the same challenges: Customers are increasingly buying online and the stores compete with other big-box and specialty stores.

One little bright spot?

The new Big Lots in the Hanford Center at 150 South 11th Ave. is gearing up to open next month. The store is scheduled to open for business May 19 and hold its grand opening starting at 8:30 a.m. May 27.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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