Halsey Fabrics is located at 91 Halsey Street in downtown Newark. I work with fabric to make sculptures and whenever I was in Newark I would visit Halsey Fabrics to get inspired. When I found out I
was going to have a studio at Gallery Aferro as part of the Studio Residency Program I stopped by the store. I asked an employee there if they knew of a hardware store near by. The employee spent 15 minutes researching and writing down names of hardware stores for me. Halsey Fabrics as well as having wonderful fabric has excellent customer service. Recently I asked the employees at Halsey Fabrics if I could interview them for this blog.
I interviewed Mike whose father and grandfather started Halsey Fabrics back in 1959. Mike and his wife, Jane now run the entire business themselves. Halsey Fabrics is open six days a week from 8-4 on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, on Wednesdays from 11-4, and on Saturday 10-6. In addition to the store hours Mike works after hours to pick up the fabric at Port Newark. The store has a large assortment of fabric as well as upholstery, trim, thread, needles and anything you would possible need to sew. If you stop by later in the day or on Saturdays the store maybe crowded but unlike many other fabric stores it is organized and easy to walk around to find what you need. At the counter Mike and Jane are experts in giving advice on how much material you'll need or what color would work, and can can give you pointers on how to make your outfit, and what tools you need to use to make them. Mike told me they have many loyal customers that continue to come back year after year. The biggest obstacle though to the business is the parking situation. Mike said that people are driving into Newark now rather than taking the bus and there are few parking spaces, and you have to pay for them. People aren't willing to pay for parking and then spend a few dollars at the fabric store. More and cheaper parking would be a big help to businesses in downtown Newark. Running a mom and pop store is not easy. Mike keeps the prices as low as he can even though he has to pay higher prices for fabric. He wants to keep his customers happy. I asked Mike about the demolition of the buildings across the street and he said if they eventually have to move they will stay in Newark or the surrounding area.