The Times West Virginian

Business

June 22, 2014

Fabric and Foam Sales marks 45 years

WHITE HALL — For 45 years, Fabric and Foam Sales Inc. has been focusing on its customers and meeting their needs.

In June of 1969, the late Sarah and Andy Poling established the store in White Hall at 2937 White Hall Blvd., which has remained its home ever since.

The building, about a fourth of a mile past Wal-Mart, formerly served as a drive-in restaurant and was also an International Harvester store at one time.

Their son, also named Andy, joined the family business in 1972 and is now the owner. He grew up in Clay County, went to college at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia, and served as a band director in Michigan.

When his parents moved to White Hall to start Fabric and Foam Sales, he came back to the area to earn his master’s degree at West Virginia University, and not long after, his father passed away.

Rather than returning directly to teaching, the younger Andy Poling decided to take a year off to help his mom with the business.

“But as it turns out, I just never left,” he said.

Poling, his mother and a couple part-time employees continued to run the store, which grew in the years that followed. Sarah turned the business over to her son and continued to work there until 1988. She passed away in 2000.

Since 1969, four additions have been constructed onto the building housing Fabric and Foam Sales. An upholstery addendum was added to the business in 1987 and lasted about 20 years.

That section is no longer an upholstery shop, but Deb Wilson moved her interior design studio, Twin Papoose Design, into that space four years ago. Before having this storefront, Wilson had actually been in business in the area for 30 years, working out of her Fairmont home.

At Fabric and Foam Sales, customers can find quilting, drapery and upholstery fabrics, notions, flexible foam products and more.

Poling said providing good, personal service and paying attention to the customers are essential concepts for any small business to follow, and he attributed his store’s success to those practices. The shop has a lot of long-time customers who have been shopping there for many years, and also has a nice internet business.

“We’re very appreciative of the community support we’ve had — it’s been terrific,” he said. “It’s a rarity for a business to be in business for 45 years.”

Many small business startups fail within the first few years because the owners don’t put money back into their operations, Poling said.

“You’ve got to reinvest in your business to grow it,” he said.

Poling also works as a lease buyer for Antero Resources. Tom Donell, office manager and head of Internet sales, and seven other employees take care of operating Fabric and Foam Sales.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Poling said. “We’ve always had good employees.”

Fabric and Foam Sales Inc. is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 304-366-4049.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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