After 55 Years Here, Textile Store Folds

The 1-2 punch of high rents and internet technology has knocked out another longtime locally owned Westport business.

The Textile Store joins Silver’s as a 3rd-generation store that’s closing. Coincidentally, the fabric store is in the Compo Shopping Center — across the street from the Compo Acres gift and luggage shop.

The strip malls are owned by different landlords. But tenants in both have seen hefty rent increases in recent years.

Lori  Yanell and her mother pose for a Westport News ad, around 1966.

Lori Yanell and her mother pose for a Westport News ad, around 1966.

Lori Yanell is the daughter of Textile Store owner Marty Yanell. She says the store was founded in 1940 in South Norwalk, and moved to its current location in 1960.

It’s been an enormous part of her life. Her mother was a great seamstress, and made matching outfits that they “modeled” in the 1960s and ’70s.

Business has been cyclical, Lori says. Though far fewer Westport women sew their own clothes these days, there’s been a recent resurgence spurred by young people — including boys.

But, Lori notes, the internet has hurt business substantially. Coupled with higher rent, her father decided to close.

He did not want to. But he’ll be 86 in April, and this gives him a chance to retire and travel.

The last day of business is at the end of February. All fabrics are marked down now. Lori hopes lots of familiar faces stop by.

Hey, why not make a day of it? After you’re done shopping at the Textile Store, cross the street for the sale at Silver’s.

13 responses to “After 55 Years Here, Textile Store Folds

  1. Sally Palmer

    Bummer! We’ll now have to go out of town to buy a zipper or spool of thread, much less their special fabrics.

  2. I remember being at their store in South Norwalk when I was a little girl, admiring and feeling all the beautiful fabrics. My mother sewed many of my clothes in those days.

  3. Sorry to see them go! My mother took us there to buy materials and notions for home economics projects. I still sew! Halloween costumes when my kids were little and now “special” outfits for my own grandchild.

  4. Sharon Paulsen

    Depressing news. (Not just because of this store closing, but because the overall retail landscape has changed so much).
    I myself have shopped there for decades (fabric for school projects, sundries for fixing buttons and zippers, really “good” threads for maritime uses, you name it).
    But, on the other hand, at 86 years of age … yeah, I think I’d want to retire and “travel” too!

  5. Betty Lou Cummings

    Lori and Marty….very sorry to see you go…but what a long wonderful run you have had….I will miss you….and thank you Betty Lou Cummings

  6. Elisabeth Keane

    Does anyone know of any textile shops not too far away? Thread color cannot be matched online, you know.

    • I think the closest fabric store would be Banksville Designer Fabrics at 115 Norwalk Ave/ Route 123 in Norwalk. That’s in the Broad River area south of New Canaan off Exit 38 of the Merritt.

      I’m very sorry to see Textile Store close but wish Marty a very happy and richly deserved retirement! He’s one of the kindest, sweetest men on the planet! All the best to him and Lori!

  7. I think of Mrs. McCoy, the best Home Economics teacher (Coleytown Jr.)!

  8. Oh Lori , I stopped in last year when I came up north ,and I just missed you !! I did see your your dad ! I`m so sorry to hear this and at the same time I understand. I wish you both all the joy and health that you certainly deserve ! xox

  9. Dick Lowenstein

    No, I did not shop there, but I was sometimes sent on a on a button-matching expedition. It is always sad when a specialty store closes, even when it doesn’t have a large customer base. But, hey, we’re getting a new specialty store up the road next month: a Maserati dealership is opening. Just what we need….

  10. Jane Lassner Zeitchick

    I love The Textile Store and am very sad to hear it’s closing. I’ve purchased many items there over the years. Best of luck to Lori and Marty.

  11. Estelle T. Margolis

    Dear Loni,
    I don’t make clothes for my five kids anymore. But since 1965 you have
    been a source for all the needs I have for the sewing and mending I do.
    Like the gas station, Greenbergs 5 & 10, the two food markets,
    the shoe repair shop, the hardware store, the World Affairs Center,
    Klein’s, the drug stores and all the other locally owned stores I now miss.
    I will miss YOU!
    Enjoy your free time, you have earned it.
    All the Best, Estelle T. Margolis

  12. Linda Hudson

    Not having sewed in many years, I wasn’t a regular customer, except for notions; however, I’d often stop in to just to wander the aisles, taking in the colors, patterns and textures — and reminiscing.
    Mom and I made most of my clothes in the 50s and 60s, and a trip to the fabric store (a huge one in Franklin, MA) was an adventure to be savored. There was something magical in that moment when a fabric clicked, ‘this is the one!’ and I couldn’t wait to get home and start cutting. Today, seeing fabrics that remind me of dresses we made together can fill me with throat-tightening happiness or even a rare, but inexplicable sadness; memories embedded in florals, paisleys, even plaids.
    thank you, Lori and Marty. Best wishes.