House of Fabric: How a local business has grown during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected a vast number of small businesses in Columbia, South Carolina. The House of Fabric, one of these small businesses, is experiencing growth during the pandemic because of one thing: masks.

“We had people lining up out the door to buy cotton and elastic to make face masks,” House of Fabric owner Lori Brown said.

With the start of the pandemic, mask-wearing became something people adapted into their day-to-day lives. At first, almost everyone used disposable masks, but it didn’t take long before people, trying to save money, started using reusable masks. While some bought these reusable masks online, a significant portion of people wanted to make their own masks, and to do so they needed fabric.

“We were very, very busy,” Brown said. “We were one of the only stores to constantly have elastic.”

When Brown’s grandfather first opened the House of Fabric, sewing was ubiquitous. From making baby clothes to sewing outfits for a special occasion, the demand for fabric and other sewing essentials was at a high. In more recent times, sewing became less popular, mostly done by hobbyists and professionals. However, even with sewing being less popular the House of Fabric still thrived. 

“Nowadays, we really only get professional seamstresses, we get costumers for dance… but we don’t get as many home sewers,” Brown said. 

Even before the demand for masks, the House of Fabric was very successful. Sales associate Jocelyn Sanders accounts this to one thing: the store’s customer service. Employees who truly care about ensuring the customers are happy and satisfied with their selection greet customers.

“Our customers keep coming back because we’re dependable, knowledgeable and pleasant to work with,” House of Fabric website.

The House of Fabric doesn’t just care about getting the job done, but they want to make sure it is done well. They take pride in building strong relationships with customers and consistently ensuring that customers are satisfied with their experience. It is because of the dependability, helpful nature, and great customer service customers keep coming back.

“We care about having customers come in,” Sander said. “We want to make sure that when they leave here, not only did they get the fabric that they wanted but they themselves are satisfied with that.”