This reminds me of something our friend Charles Fishman would write. The J & O Fabric Center Newsletter:
Ever since Walmart decided not to carry fabrics in over 2500 of their stores, the fabric industry has been in a frenzy. With Walmart sprawling across the county, they have managed to push out over 80% of local fabric shops. Today, as local Walmarts are closing down their fabric departments, what are the fabric suppliers going to do?
The buzz in the textile industry right now is as to who is going to be the first fabric manufacturer to close their doors. This “honor” goes to a great company, Shamash and Sons Fabrics. Shamash has been around for over 50 years and has provided millions of yards of fabric to customers all over the globe. Everything from cotton velvet, batiks, novelty fabrics, designer fabrics and dress goods was produced by Shamash, though they are most known for manufacturing the Betty Boop Fabric line.
The impact Walmart’s decision has had is attributable in large part to manufacturers’ structuring their fabric lines around Walmart. Walmart would order thosands of yards from different companies. Their orders would provide revenue. The revenue would provide the manufacturers more money to spend on developing new designs and products. These novel designs would be shown at quilt markets and then sold in quilting stores. Sans the presence of Walmart, manufacturers such as Shamash lost their main source of revenue. Therefore, since some of the manufacturers neglected their previous buyers – which had since gone out of business – there was no place to turn to to replace what they had lost in Walmart. Sadly, once proud companies like Shamash are now withering away.
The good news is you’re a Wal-Mart supplier. The problem is that’s also the bad news.