On my very long list of places-I-really-really-wanted-to-visit while I was in Charlotte last month, Mary Jo's was right near the top. Mary Jo's is the kind of place people come from all over to experience. The full name of the place is Mary Jo's Cloth Store but to say that Mary Jo's is just a fabric store is like saying FAO Schwarz is just a toy store. Is FAO still in business anywhere??
Not sure about FAO, but Mary Jo's is going strong. In fact, when Laura and I pulled into the parking lot we were in shock. When I lived in Charlotte, going to Mary Jo's meant getting off I-85 at the Cox Rd. exit and then turning right into a mall that looked like it last got new tenants in 1983. The structure and parking lot were dirty, ugly and in disrepair (note the backside of the building in the photo). Looks like someone got an infusion of cash because it's like a whole new world down there now. New parking lot, new facade, new landscaping, new stores. And from what I heard while we were in the store, a new warehouse and manufacturing facility are on the way. I believe Mary Jo's is going to be printing their own fabric. Very. Intriguing.
Of course it never really mattered what Mary Jo's looked like on the outside, it's the eye candy and bargains on the inside that count! Pretty much any kind of fabric or trim you can imagine, they have it. And don't forget to pick up a cutting slip as you walk in the door, or you can't buy any of it. As we were on somewhat of a tight schedule with many places to go that day, I concentrated on my two favorite areas: trims and home decor fabric.
I stocked up on tiny rick rack in lots of fun colors. Over in the home decor area I really was just taking it all in. I bought a yard of the yellow and blue dog fabric to make something for the boys. I was looking for coral colored fabric with 1/2" white polka dots in a home decor weight and width. Alas, none was to be found. Other than that, too many choices. All so wonderful. And so well priced.
That's all right though, I can always send My Cousin Laura back with a shopping list and a flat rate shipping box!
P.S. Check out this great article about the history of Mary Jo's