An Orbit Obit: Two Closed Stores

I started thinking about two stores that I never went to that are now closed. One seems like it’s been closed for a couple of years the other ceased operating more recently.  What hit me was this selfish attitude that I thought the stores should have stayed open until I got around to going to them. I’ve lived in the Portland area over seven years which was plenty of time to make a trek to these places that I never made. While the stores intrigued me, they didn’t sell anything I wanted. Still I missed out on getting a feel for the atmosphere of the places and I regret that. They seemed like quirky, Portlandy type establishments from a bygone era that we’re losing.

Fabric World


Fabric World detail

Fabric World was looking a bit run down for years. Then it was hard to tell if it was open. I saw this store many times driving up Lombard Ave towards St. Johns and I thought it was cool to have an independent fabric store in the area. Towards the end a boarded up window seemed to signal its demise.

I’m not the fabric sort. I do have good memories of my wife, Ronna, and I buzzing around Hancock Fabrics in Alexandria, Va. With a cup of coffee in hand and an over caffeinated brain, fabric and all the various gizmos that go with it take on a whole new meaning. I can tell you that a box of fabric from those days remains in one of our closets so we were never in the market to make acquisitions from Fabric World. The only consolation of missing the Fabric World experience is that now we don’t have bolts of a polyester blends hanging around the house. Marci Macfarlane writes about Fabric World on her blog Sewing With Cupcake (see the link below) which offers a detailed sense of the spirit of the place. Sadly it’s as close as I’ll get to the actual experience of having gone there.

Hollywood Costumers

Hollywood Costumers (1)

If I’m remembering right there were painted cartoon pictures on the front window and some Star Wars cardboard cut outs there as well. It’s one of those landmarks for me, something that made me feel good when I saw it. Mostly when I was biking around the intersection of 7th Ave and SE Hawthorne. I could tell there was a whole world inside that store. How could a costume shop not be an interesting and magical place? And yet, I am not a costume renting person. I leave that up to my film maker hero Jeff Dodge. It seems like the type of place where he could rent Civil War costumes. There is a bit of heartache for a lost opportunity. This isn’t like one of those cool things I hear about that I missed out on years before I moved here. I had plenty of chances to wander into the store and get an eyeball full of costumes and associated relics. It feels like a here one day gone the next kind of thing.  It’s sad to go from seeing that store, go from colorful and offbeat front window decorations to a blank and empty store front.

If there’s any lesson it has to be not to put off checking places out. I could probably make a list of other places that I’d like to see but I’ve delayed visiting for various reasons.  I tell myself I don’t have time or offer up other excuses. I’ll be filled with even more regret if I end up noticing another business gone under that I never bothered to visit.

Here’s Marci’s report on Fabric World that is the next best thing to going there which you can no longer do any more. Scroll down to the March 31, 2015 post. Photos too!:

Check out yelp reviews, many positive to get another sense of the Fabric World experience:

Many one star Yelp reviews about Hollywood Costumers which have a charm all their own if you’re into that:

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