Business

"Fabrics, crafts, etc"

"Craft, sewing and home decor enthusiasts will be delighted that Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts is moving from Plaza Road to a new, larger site on Silverdale Way and will re-open as a Jo-Ann etc superstore.The Jo-Ann etc (etc stands for experience the creativity) will be three times larger than traditional Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. The new store represents a change of focus for the nation's largest fabric retailer.There was a need for more selection and guests have responded well to the new concept, which includes custom floral and home decor, said Stacey Gerhardstein, promotions coordinator for the Ohio-based corporation. The first etc opened in Hudson, Ohio, in 1995.The expanded store will offer classes for all types of crafts, from sewing to painting faux-finishes and special courses for children. The firm will hire craft instructors locally. Unlike its traditional counterpart, the superstore will sell blinds and drapes and offer custom framing. A section is dedicated to silk floral arrangements and customers can either create their own wreaths and bouquets or order custom designs.Etc superstores generate more than four times the revenue of traditional stores, according to Jo-Ann's annual report. Generally one or more of the traditional stores are closed when a superstore is opened. There are 58 etc stores and just fewer than 1,000 traditional stores open nationwide - including franchises in every state but Hawaii, Gerhardstein said.We have been very pleased with the success of our etc stores so far, Gerhardstein said. Store officials are hoping etc stores will help revive the chain's sales, which have been sluggish for the last two years, according to the annual report. Jo-Ann etc will employ more than 100 people - about 80 more than the Plaza Road store - and it will open in a few months. A date has not been determined and no action has been taken toward the move, according to a local Jo-Ann employee who asked not to be identified. The store will be located between Safeway and Staples on Silverdale Way. Jo-Ann, Inc.'s target market group has historically been women between 25 and 54 years old, but Gerhardstein said etc stores might attract a wider range of customers.We're seeing people from across a wide spectrum, she said. Boys and men often take advantage of the classes offered at the superstores, she added. "

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