Lorraine Fabrics opening warehouse in North Providence

Lorraine Fabrics opening warehouse in North Providence

The owner of Lorraine Fabrics, which is shown here on Mineral Spring Ave. in Pawtucket, has purchased a new location in North Providence for warehouse space.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Lorraine Fabrics, an institution in Pawtucket since 1908, is preparing to make an expansion to Smith Street in North Providence.

A check of property records last week for the former Salvation Army store at 1895 Smith St., which shut down as part of a consolidation in the spring, revealed that Lorraine Fabrics owner David Taylor purchased the property two weeks ago.

Taylor said on Tuesday that the main store will remain where it is, at 593 Mineral Spring Ave. in Pawtucket, but with the purchase in North Providence, he'll regain the space he lost with a previous consolidation. Lorraine Fabrics has been renting warehouse space on School Street.

"As you know, we had a big building and we used it as a warehouse," he said.

The Breeze reported in August of 2018 that the Lorraine Fabrics building at 593 Mineral Spring Ave. in Pawtucket had been sold, with new live/work units planned by Lorraine Mills developer Jonathan Savage in the upper floors and the fabric store reducing its expansive footprint to just the first floor.

North Providence records show that Taylor purchased the former Salvation Army store on Smith Street for $550,000 on Dec. 31, 2020. The property, listed at a tax value of $581,000, covers about 11,000 square feet with its various buildings and basement space included, sitting on one-third of an acre of property.

North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi, who was unaware of the purchase when reached Monday, subsequently confirmed with Taylor that he'll be expanding to North Providence, including a renovation of the building.

“I’m excited about them coming here, especially during this pandemic,” Lombardi said.

Lombardi said the town has made a number of gains in unusual types of business, including the earlier move of Providence Picture Frame from Providence.

Lorraine Fabrics markets itself as the largest and most complete discount fabric store in New England, with the slogan “Serving you better, saving you more.” A sign out front welcomes minorities of all types.

The store has long drawn clothing designers and crafters for its huge assortment of cloth.

The Lorraine Mills has seen rapid change and progress in recent years, with the addition of White Dog Distilling, Rhode Island Monthly and the Miss Lorraine Diner added to an eclectic mix that includes Mixed Magic Theatre and Crooked Current Brewery, among others.

When Taylor originally sold the Pawtucket property, he told The Breeze he was hopeful that it would allow him to keep Lorraine Fabrics open “hopefully forever.”