For our latest customer story, we’re proud to put the spotlight on Fabricana, a multi-store fabric retailer with 2 locations in Canada, as well as a tightly-integrated ecommerce site.
Established in 1970, the business was founded by Richard Megrian, who immigrated to Canada from Cyprus. His father had a fabric store in Cyprus years before and Richard decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps by opening a store of his own.
The original store had humble beginnings. It was an 800 sq. ft. shop run by Richard and his wife. Together, they worked hard to stock the store with fabric that customers wanted, and they made it a point to add a personal touch to each customer interaction.
Fast forward to 2021 (and three generations), Fabricana now has two large stores in Richmond and Coquitlam as well as an online presence.
We had a chance to connect with Mark Vleeming, VP of Operations at Fabricana, and asked him to tell us more about the business and what they’re doing to engage shoppers.
Let’s get started.
What are the unique things about your store that customers love? How do you keep people coming back?
Every day we draw on the same values that Richard started Fabricana with, which made him successful.
First and foremost, an extreme attention to the customer and their needs. Whether someone is just browsing, needs help finding the perfect fabric, needs help with a technical aspect of their project, or is just looking for some inspiration — our goal is to be their go-to resource.
Everyone here at Fabricana is passionate about what they do and wants to go above and beyond to help fellow sewists and crafters enjoy their hobby and find whatever it is they are looking for.
Our industry is special in that people are creating something from nothing. You’ve got an idea and you are creating it from scratch. It is a creative process, and our job is to give the people the confidence and the tools such that their ideas can be translated into reality.
If it isn’t our helpful staff that keeps people coming back, it is our vast selection of fabric. As we have grown, it has allowed us to bring in more and more of the fabrics that people have asked for over the years.
Fifty-plus years later, and we now have two 20,000 sq. ft. retail stores with more than 15,000+ different types of fabrics and accessories. Our goal is to be the one-stop-shop that has everything you need for whatever the project might be.
What are some of the challenges that come with running multiple stores and how do you overcome them?
Having three locations is rewarding and challenging all at the same time. Each location has a slightly different demographic making the customer’s needs and tastes different. It is important that we have the right product for each customer.
So, while our base offering at each location is the same, there are subtle differences in inventory position to make sure we have what people want, when they want it.
What is your favorite Vend feature and why?
The ability to sell in partial units. During our search for a POS system we scoped out systems that had more features, were more cost effective, and in some cases checked more of the boxes.
For us as a fabric store though, the ability to sell in partial units (as we sell by the yardage in ¼ yard increments), was a must have.
The system had to be able to support partial units otherwise it just wouldn’t have suited our needs. We came across a lot of nice systems, but when we found out that Vend could handle partial unit sales it was a no brainer.
Vend gives you powerful tools manage your inventory. Whether you have a limited catalog or you’re carrying thousands of SKUs across multiple locations, we’ve got you covered.
Are you using any add-ons or integrations with Vend?
We are using the WooCommerce integration with Vend to sync up our online store with our warehouse. This allows us to accurately track the stock position of our online products and indicate to customers with confidence what is available and what is sold out amongst our thousands of fabrics.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.