15236 Aurora Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133
http://www.joann.com (website for all branches and online shopping)
My sewing days came to an end in a disastrous eighth grade sewing class. At the end of that class, I had to throw myself on the mercy of my best friend’s mom., who finished my project the night before it was due. I never broke the news to Mary Lynne’s mom that she had gotten a C- on that project. I couldn’t really tell and didn’t want to ask the sewing teacher if Mary Lynne’s mom had gotten such a low grade because I had given her a botched start to work with or because the teacher had looked at my completed project and recognized that–given my progress to that date–I surely was not the one who finished it. I was grateful for that C- and grateful to Mary Lynne’s mom for getting it for me, so being in a fabric store doesn’t fill me with 14-year-old trauma.
In fact, I love fabric stores. They are filled with such bedazzlement of colors and textures, I could spend days wandering around in them. So when one of my dear friends offered to make me a new duvet cover for my birthday this year, I was happy to go to Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts with her and my pusher to pick out the fabric.
This place is a dream for wheelchair users! It offers easy access to almost every color and texture you might desire, to a comfortable space where you can check out patterns, to a befuddling array of craft-making tools, and to a wild range of button choices. All this place needs is a coffee shop, and you’d be set for an all-day excursion!
Parking: The store is located in a little strip mall off Aurora, and the mall provides two handicapped parking spaces in front of the store at each end of the mall. That means you will need to do a little wheeling to get to the front doors, but it is a flat stretch with no obstacles.
Entrances: There are no stairs at the front double door and no automatic opener. But the doors open easily and, if a staff member sees you, she will hurry over and hold the door for you. The doorway threshold was a piece of cake, as well.
Aisles: Every aisle is completely accessible, with no need to bang into the bolts of fabric to get through. Even when partially blocked by a supporting column or a bin of sale items, the aisles offer plenty of room for wheelchairs to get through, and, if you sit in the aisle contemplating whether to choose this floral-patterned flannel or this other flannel with stars* for your duvet cover, other shoppers can easily get around you.
Restrooms: Restrooms are located in the southeast corner at the back of the store. They are unisex singles, so you can take a helper in with you if need be and spacious enough to maneuver your wheelchair in. There are grab bars around the toilet and a beautiful roll-under sink.
Photos of interior space online: No
Photos of entrances online: No
Reservations taken: Not necessary
What the wheelchair pusher has to say: The only way this experience could be better would be if people came out of the store and carried you in. Easy parking and the path to the door is smooth and flat. The doors open gigantically and the floor is all one-level. Aisles are wide with only a few places where it was tight, but that was because people were sitting in chairs. You could go down to the end of the aisle, turn, and go to the next aisle without any back-and-forth movement.
Overall: Five wheels for excellent accessibility!
*Always go with the stars.