When I first heard that Elmwood Village Fabrics was leaving Elmwood Avenue, I was sad, but I figured that owner Sandy Hertel was venturing to another commercial district. That turned out not to be the case. Instead of heading to Amherst Street or Grant Street, Sandy decided to purchase a building on Franklin Street. She did this for a number of reasons, though more room and ownership are two reasons that topped her list. I’m sure that the stunning house was also a fairly good reason to make the move.
For years Sandy has been looking for the perfect home for her business. Every time I talked to her she mentioned that she was looking at something, but it was either too small, someone else had already snatched it up, etc. It was just this weekend that I learned that she finally dropped the hammer. “It’s been years in the making: this vision I’ve had of a larger store space,” Sandy wrote in an email blast. “With room for a stitch lounge and sewing classes — in a building I owned rather than rented, with an apartment for extra income or, to live in one day. It sure hasn’t been easy to find but, at long last, I’m happy to say, I’ve got it! Please meet 543 Franklin Street, the soon-to-be-new home of Elmwood Village Fabrics!”
This train of thought, when it comes to where to open her fabric shop, leads to a very interesting development. Not only will the transition free up prime, affordable real estate on Elmwood… it will also help to expand the Allentown business district (between North and Allen) and broaden the Allentown identity. After all, if the perfect Allen Street location is not available, why not create your own just down the street? I would think that for certain destination businesses, a location such as the one that Sandy has found would be a dream come true. “It has 2X the space of the current store (that’s just the first floor),” Sandy wrote. “The natural light is wonderful and the space “just feels good”. It even has off-street parking. I hope my loyal fabric fans will follow me to Franklin and new ones will keep finding EVF via Google, GPS, social media – facebook links and word-of-mouth. I’m looking forward to creating quite a buzz on Franklin!”
The 982 Elmwood store will be open until the end of May, re-opening at 543 Franklin in June. Classes and the stitch lounge will soft-open shortly thereafter.
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“We are now on the site of the old Poinsett Barracks, at No. 543 Franklin, the symmetry and simplicity of the Greek Revival style is brought to an unprecedented polish. The low pitched roof was once crowned with a cupola, which has been destroyed. A half-round moulding engages the frieze beneath the eaves, the whole is supported by four board pilasters which also section the facade. First and second storey windows are six-over-six lights with cornice caps and plain pilasters. The treatment is reflected in the simple entryway. In contrast, the second storey spindle balconet fronts light French doors flanked by three-light side lights and capped by a five-light transom. Reel moulding decorates the door. The Italianate extension to the rear is a later addition. This is the first building to be constructed on the site after the Poineett Barracks were razed and Franklin Street extended.”