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October 23, 2017

Main St.’s Fabric Emporium will close in December

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Joe and Maria Price opened Fabric Emporium in 1995.
Every room in my house has something that they’ve done.
— Barbara Brown
Fabric Emporium
• What: Retail shop for home décor items including designer fabrics, lamps, wallpaper, art and furniture; also provides custom interior design services.

• Where: 78 Main St., Warrenton.

• Owners: Maria and Joe Price.

• Store: About 2,800 square feet of leased space.

• Opened: September 1995.

• Closing: Early to mid-December 2017.

• Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

• Phone: 540-349-9467

• Website: Click here

• Facebook: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Warrenton’s Main Street soon will lose another well-established retailer.

After 22 years in business on Main Street, Fabric Emporium owners Maria and Joe Price announced two weeks ago they will close their interior design store and retire.

“Mainly, we’ve done this for so long,” Mrs. Price, 64, said. “We’re getting a little older and we want to travel a little bit. We’re going to be a little more carefree.”

The Rixeyville couple had thought about retirement for a couple years, but became serious about it four months ago, Mrs. Price said.

They plan to close the approximately 2,800-square-foot home decor business by Dec. 15 — but sooner if more items sell.

Fabric Emporium has about $500,000 worth of retail inventory, such as lighting fixtures, fabric, furniture and prints.

The business also has provided interior design services, such as custom bedding, curtains, carpets and upholstery.

“We had everything in the store to decorate an entire house if you needed it,” Mrs. Price said.

They also leased the basement as a workshop and storage area.

The couple in 1975 started their first interior design workshop in Lexington. Ten years later they opened a nearby retail store.

In 1990, they sold the business and moved to Lynchburg for another business venture. But, Mrs. Price got cabin fever, her husband said.

“I missed it so badly, I wanted to get back into it,” Mrs. Price said.

After hearing from a friend about a vacant storefront on Warrenton’s Main Street, they opened Fabric Emporium in 1995. The Prices invested $65,000 of savings, about $20,000 from credit cards and $25,000 from a small business loan to launch the business.

At age 13, Mrs. Price worked with fabric and upholstery at her mother’s small business and later took over that store. A professional designer also served as a mentor early in her career.

“I’ve always loved fabrics and accessories and making beautiful rooms for people who appreciate it,” Mrs. Price said. “It’s something I’ve done all my life.”

Over the years, the couple’s daughter, son and son-in-law worked in the Warrenton business. Today the store has one employee besides Mr. and Mrs. Price.

Customers of all ages and income levels from all over the country became regulars at the store, Mrs. Price said.

“I know I’m going to miss it,” she said. “Some customers have become like family members.”

“It will be a huge loss,” 21-year customer Mary Lewis said. “Joe can do anything as far as fixing furniture. He’s an amazing upholsterer.”

The couple remains open to selling the entire business, but “it’s kind of tough this day and time, to find people who want to open a retail business, because everything is online,” Mrs. Price said.

Long-time customer Barbara Brown was “devastated” when she heard about the closing of Fabric Emporium.

“Every room in my house has something that they’ve done,” said Mrs. Brown, who lives near New Baltimore. Mrs. Prices’ “meticulous design ability is just amazing.”

“The array of fabric design was amazing and you can’t get that online,” Mrs. Brown said. “There’s nothing like being able to see the fabric, feel the fabric.”

Almost on a daily basis, the couple would see customers come in and take photos of items, rather than purchasing them.

“A lot of people respected our knowledge and our time, but there were a lot that came in and used the store as a library with online (purchasing),” Mrs. Price said. “That we have seen more in the past couple years than we had ever seen. But, I think that’s pretty much in every retail business these days.”

Mrs. Price believes their customer service — something people can’t find enough of online — always stood out.

“I think everyone wants to have their home comfortable. It’s their retreat,” Mrs. Price said. “In having a retail store where people can come in . . . . It touched emotions. They got ideas. People can touch and feel” the fabric.

“You can get the true color,” Mr. Price said.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped us in our success. We couldn’t have done it without them,” Mrs. Price said. “We appreciate every single client.”

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