August 10, 2013
After serving Carroll County for nearly two decades, Mountain Plains Fabrics is planning to close its doors before the end of the year.
Hallie and Freddie Currin opened Mountain Plains Fabrics in May of 1995 after Elizabeth Utt gave up the business, then known as Utt’s Fabrics, because her husband was not well. Hallie had just retired from teaching at the time, and Freddie felt running the business under a new name would be a good way for the couple to spend their retirement. But now the time has come for a new chapter for the couple, who will have been married 62 years this December.
“We have been here now 18 years now and the economy has sort of gotten to the fabric business. We don’t have the business that we need to stay with it and we are not getting any younger. I am 83 and he will be 90,” Hallie Currin said. “We have enjoyed the store and we have made a lot of friends. A lot of our elderly customers that we have been very fond of are deceased, but there are still several that come.”
Located in a large white building on U.S. 52, Mountain Plains has a huge inventory of fabrics, ranging from cottons, upholstery, polar fleece, pre-printed quilt tops, pillow panels, leather hides, notions, buttons, quilt frames, DMC floss, foam cut to size and much more.
“We would like to be out by Thanksgiving but we have a lot of stuff we have to get rid of,” Hallie said. “We are going to start with the fabric on sale for 25 percent off and then we will see where we go from there.”
“The entire stock is for sale. The building is not for sale, but everything in it is,” Freddie added.
Among some of the more popular items in the store are large sections of foam, which can be cut for use in couch cushions, mattress toppers and many other things. Cotton for quilters is also a big favorite, which are 90-inches wide and come ready to quilt or for those who want to piece quilt.
“We also have a lot of polar fabric, a lot of polar fleece, a lot of most any kind of fabric you want,” Freddie said. “All these various wall hangings, pillow tops, baby quilts, and anything you want to make something out of, we have pretty well got some of it.”
Mountain Plains also has more than just fabric-related items in its inventory. The business also sells flavoring made in Bedford, Virginia and all occasion cards it sells for area Methodist women. Rada Knives made in the United States are also sold with proceeds going to the Charles Currin Music Scholarship. Medicated ointments and antiseptics are also available at Mountain Plains Fabrics. Hallie has also taught music for 60 years in Carroll County, so she still sells sheet music and teaching books that are near and dear to her heart.
“We have got quite an investment here in inventory,” Freddie Currin said. “If you look around, you can tell.”
The building where Mountain Plains Fabrics is currently located has a lot of local history. Originally a one-room building, it was home to a grocery store with day-old bread and produce. The larger part of the building was constructed sometime around 1960 and rented to local Iroler Brothers, who turned it into a larger grocery store in the 1960s. Mrs. Utt sold her fabric in a barn behind the current building in the 1950s before later moving into the larger store where Mountain Plains Fabrics now sits.
“We sold most of what Mrs. Utt had, but there are still some rolls of blanket binding over the door she had,” Hallie said.
The Currins said Libby Webb helped them when they opened Mountain Plains Fabrics because she had more experience with fabric sales than the couple did. All in all, running the business has benefitted the Currins in many ways, including health reasons.
“I got to where I couldn’t farm like I had and I thought it would be a good place for us to have something to do and slow down a little bit. I’ve enjoyed it and I feel like I wouldn’t have been alive today if I had tried to keep farming and trying to do things I couldn’t do without giving out,” Freddie said. “I get short of breath, I still do, but I’ve got along here and I have enjoyed working in it.”
It’s also been a family business as the Currins’ daughter-in-law Joyce works there, along with her daughter, Katherine. Another granddaughter, Brenda Leath, also works at Mountain Plains.
“It has been a good place to raise these twins Joyce had, our grandchildren, Charles and Catherine. They graduated from high school this year,” said Freddie. “Catherine grew up in a playpen under the cutting table here, and our granddaughter, Brenda Leath, now has a five-year-old and a 10-month-old, so the play yard is still occupied.”
Mountain Plains Fabrics is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Currins plan to keep the same hours for the time being. The business is located at 4505 Fancy Gap Highway in Hillsville.