Newly-reopened fabric stores working to supply face mask materials

Published: Apr. 19, 2020 at 7:10 PM AKDT
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Sitting in a now-quiet strip mall in Eagle River is a sewing store called the Quilt Cache. Like other fabric stores around Anchorage, it’s recently reopened after being

The store's owner, Carla Eisberg, has been running the business for five years. Now that she’s reopened the store, things have been very busy.

“I’ve been working like crazy,” she said.

The cause for the rush is wave after wave of customers trying to buy supplies to make face masks.

“I had one customer that called," Eisberg said, "and she’s made over 400. And I know she’s not alone.”

Eisberg said fabrics and threads are selling fast, but another component of face masks has already flown off her shelves. Elastic, strings and other parts used to hold the masks up to your face.

“I did have some elastic, that went real fast,” she said. “I can’t even get it from my vendors anymore.”

Instead, she’s recommending her customers use elastic from old fitted sheets. If they do indeed need fabric to go along with it, they’ll have to wait outside.

“Nobody in the store,” Eisberg said, “but I do have a little bench outside that I set things out for them to pick up.”

Because of the "hunker down" order, fabric stores such as the Cache can only do curbside pickup, so Eisberg has had to try some new methods to let people see what they’re buying.

“We gave a new twist on window shopping,” she said, laughing. “They’ll stand out the window, and I’ll bring [fabrics] up and show and show, and point and point.”

She’s also started texting and messaging pictures of fabrics, as well as setting up a Facebook store, so people can browse without being inside the store. Eisberg said it’s a lot of work, but she thinks sewing and crafting help to keep people grounded, as well as safe, during this pandemic.

“It’s a whole down-home thing to do,” she said. “Sewing has got us through a lot.”

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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