Some of the freshest and latest styles in fabric is being designed, printed and sold in North Mississippi.
Meg Curtis, spokesperson for Premier Fabrics, said the company has been in business for 14 years. “The company was started by my dad, Billy Hodges, and his two brothers, Zeke and Johnny. They started out printing furniture decking — the part of the furniture that you don’t see, like the underside of couches.”
Gradually, the company moved towards printing fabrics. Today, they print a full line of fabrics that can be used for everything from aprons and totes to draperies and upholstery.
“We sell to event planning companies who make their own tablecloths and to furniture manufacturers all over the country,” said Curtis. “We have sales reps who market to retailers, furniture manufacturers, manufacturers of baby bedding and companies that make totes and purses. There are endless possibilities for companies that can use our fabrics.”
While the company has designers on staff, it also purchases designs from outside sources.
“We are always looking for something new and fresh that will excite people,” Curtis said. “But since we are located in the deep South, many of our customers tend to be on the more conservative side, so we also stick with plenty of traditional patterns, as well.”
Premier Fabric has plants in Okalona and Sherman near Tupelo. There is an outlet store at the Tupelo location, as well as a re-upholstery area where customers can purchase fabric from Premier and have their old furniture recovered.
The next step in the business was to open a retail outlet. After much research, a location was selected on East County Line Road in Jackson. Missy Massey runs Premier Fabrics in Pear Orchard Village, which has been open since November 1, 2007. “We’ve been thrilled with the reception we’ve received here,” said Massey. “We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback.”
Massey said that in their research, they discovered a need for a moderately priced fabric store.
“We are able to keep our prices low because we are selling direct from the factory-there is no middle man,” Massey said. One thing that sets the store apart from other fabric stores in the area is that they have several pieces of furniture that can be covered in any of the store’s fabrics. “We can custom make a piece of furniture at a very reasonable price.”
The store is customer-service oriented. “We like to help people coordinate fabric yardage, and we try to give them ideas they can use in decorating their homes,” Massey said. “From curtains and bedding to pillows, I have a ball helping people coordinate fabrics. It’s a way for me to live vicariously through our customers, as I can’t possibly have so many different looks going in my own home.”
The 1,650-square-foot store is a prototype for a new store which will open in May in Memphis. “We are looking at branching out and opening other stores as well,” said Curtis. “We are just taking it one step at a time and growing where we need to in order to grow the business overall.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org .