Four Generations in the Business of Fabric
Where the story began
Annie Isaacson, just 28 years old, opened the Sportswear Store on Kendall Street in downtown Framingham, Massachusetts along with her twin sister Betty. The store quickly became a local favorite selling all kinds of good quality clothing for entire families. Snowsuits, jeans, men’s suits – the Sportswear Store had it all.
Eureka, let's try offering some fabric!
The Sportswear Store, having moved around the corner to Howard Street, grew and prospered, managed and staffed by founder Annie Isaacson’s extended family including her husband, children, nephews and eventually grandchildren (yup, Peter is a grandkid!). Also on staff were lots of local sewing, knitting and fashion enthusiasts, many who remember the Sportswear Store fondly as their first job.
The Isaacson twins were sewers themselves so when the clothing manufacturers offered to sell them their leftover fabric, the twins experimented with a fabric department. Realizing that more and more customers were sewing, crafting and decorating their homes, gradually clothing began to take a back seat to the extensive inventory of fabrics, yarns and sewing supplies the store now offered.
Growing up in a growing family business
In 1980, The Sportswear Store made its status as a fabric emporium official, changing its name to Fabric Place. Over the next 27 years Fabric Place expanded to 5 (really big!) stores and two custom design centers with locations in Woburn, Randolph, Newton and Boston in Massachusetts, Cromwell in Connecticut, and Warwick in Rhode Island. Known for its comprehensive inventory, high quality fabrics and welcoming customer service, Fabric Place eventually employed over 500 people. Always at the helm of the successful New England institution were members of Annie Isaacson’s family - including Peter Isaacson.
Growing up in the family business (with both parents working at Fabric Place), there was pretty much nothing fabric-related Peter didn’t learn to do. He installed window treatments, worked in the warehouse ticketing fabrics, managed the stores, planned advertising and ultimately became the buyer for fashion fabrics, the quilting department and notions. For more than 10 years, Peter served on the board of the American Home Sewing Association, making fabric and retailing friends and contacts throughout the country.
The family retires closing Fabric Place chain.
Fabric Place - responding to changes in lifestyle that saw fewer people with time to sew and knit - and with many of the family members ready to retire, closed all of its locations. All of the fabric, fixtures and equipment were sold, pretty much down to the last paper clip. In fact, what was left from all seven stores would fit in the trunk of your car!
Peter I. goes on the road and has a brainstorm!
After Fabric Place closed, Peter Isaacson went on the road as a fabric sales rep. Representing some of the companies he had bought from in the past, Peter had the opportunity to visit fabric retailers and designers in many corners of the country. Hearing again and again how his former customers were lost without Fabric Place, an idea began to take hold – what about a new fabric store in the Boston area where Peter could offer the terrific fabrics he was finding in the marketplace at really affordable prices? Unlike other stores, Peter’s new store would offer high quality fabrics for fashion, quilting, home decorating, upholstery and yarns all under one roof . . .
By 2010, the idea became a reality when Peter found the perfect space for his new store at the Cloverleaf Mall in Natick. Well, it wasn’t exactly the perfect space to begin with. Formerly unoccupied, the large space needed extensive construction (including an elevator and new stairwell) to create the modern, attractive store Peter envisioned. It took nearly a year to assemble the fabrics, build the new store, now aptly named Fabric Place Basement, and to organize the huge warehouse/stockroom that houses the store’s vast inventory.
Fabric Place Basement opens at the new location in Natick
By October, 2011, Fabric Place Basement was ready to open its doors. Stocked (and we mean STOCKED to the rafters) with brand new fabrics and staffed with an enthusiastic team of fabric lovers (including a fourth generation of Isaacsons – Peter has 6 kids who are often on the scene), Fabric Place Basement continues the Isaacson family tradition of quality, customer service and value started more than 70 years ago.
Fabric Place Basement adds its second store in Alexandria, VA
Almost 5 years old and enjoying success in the Boston, area, Fabric Place Basement ventures into the mid-Atlantic with a sister store in Alexandria, Virginia. Fortunately, scouts for Fabric Place Basement found the ideal location in a large storefront formerly occupied by Hancock Fabrics at the Beacon Center in Alexandria. With easy access from Washington, Maryland and Virginia, the new Alexandria FPB is set to attract sewers, quilters, designers and decorators from all of the D.C. region.
Our story in a nutshell
Peter Isaacson, proprietor of Fabric Place Basement, has a passion for fabric and the background to match. As a kid, he grew up working (and playing!) at Fabric Place, the family business started by his grandmother. As a manager, buyer and later fabric sales rep, he traveled the country to locate the best fabrics at the very best prices, making connections with designers and suppliers everywhere. When his family decided to close Fabric Place, Peter dreamed of opening a great store of his own where he could bring together the creative people and the fabric they dream of at affordable prices. Fabric Place Basement is Peter’s dream-come-true, offering an enormous assortment of fabrics, trims, notions and yarns to sewers, quilters, decorators and designers.
Our storefront in Natick