Five decades and five fabric shops into her career, Melba Hall is confident her selection at Oceanna Fabrics will cover all the needs of her customers. But, she said, it’s the comfortable armchair in the corner that will bring them back.
“You’ve always got to have a hubby chair,” she said in her charming Tennessee tone. “It gives the husbands a place to relax while the wives get what they need.”
Hall describes Oceanna Fabrics, 17723 Coastal Highway in Ocean One Plaza across Route 1 from Grotto Pizza’s Grand Slam, as a full-service fabric store.
She said close to 800 bolts of fabrics are on display now, and she said she expects that number to exceed 1,000 in the coming months.
“And that’s probably a low number,” she said.
She said there’s a full selection of quilting notions, trims, laces, heirloom sewing supplies (think christening gowns), specialty fabrics from Indonesia, different gauges of pillow piping, quilting jelly rolls, handbag supplies, ceramic buttons, sewing tools, fleece, corduroys, wools, jersey knits, polyesters, batiks and backings.
“All genres and all products are covered,” she said during a recent tour of the soon-to-be-open store.
Hall said sewing and quilting have always been a part of her life, but she received her formal training in the late 1960s at the Harrogate School of Design in England where her husband, who was in the military, was stationed.
She said training allowed her to set up shop wherever her husband’s next assignment was, and she was always on the lookout for unique fabrics.
“We traveled all over the world and picked up a lot of fabrics,” she said. “That’s how I knew to look for the fabrics from Indonesia when I had my most recent shop.”
On a much smaller scale compared to the selection for sale, Oceanna Fabrics also offers a glimpse into the industry’s past. There’s a 260-year-old spinning wheel in one corner, old factory spools on top of one display, a gathering basket from the 1800s on top of another, and a glass case near the door with other odds and ends from the textile industry.
Hall said she has owned and operated five shops, from the state of Washington to her most recent one in Tennessee. She moved to Cape Region to be closer to her children – her daughter and daughter-in-law will be helping run the shop.
“This is truly a family affair,” she said.
Hall admits the process of opening another shop is time consuming, but she said she enjoys the process.
“It’s not work to me,” she said. “Some things have become easier, but you’ve still got to find the right suppliers and make sure things are going to be at a price point that keeps people happy. It may have delayed the opening by a couple of weeks, but the end result will be better for the customer.”
Hall has scheduled a soft opening for Monday, April 11, and a grand opening ribbon cutting for Tuesday, April 19.
For more Oceanna Fabrics information call 302-313-4381 or email Hall at email@example.com