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ANOTHER ONE FALLS: Port Charlotte Jo-Ann store among 800+ in bankruptcy filing

The company said all of its stores would stay open, including the handful up and down US-41 in Southwest Florida.
Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 18, 2024

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — In a time of big bankruptcies tied to iconic names like Toys R Us, Bed Bath and Beyond, and JC Penney, another big-box retailer with historic roots in the Midwest has filed for Chapter 11: Jo-Ann Stores.

From a single storefront in the Cleveland area back in the 1940's, the company grew to become the country's largest fabric and craft retailer with more than 800 stores, according to Forbes.

In Southwest Florida, Jo-Ann locations can be found up and down US-41, including a location in Port Charlotte... with the next closest to the north in Venice, and to the south in North Ft Myers. For now, all of the Jo-Ann locations are expected to remain open.

In a press release, Jo-Ann officials said the company has secured $132 million in new finding to help cut the debt, which CNN reported to be more than $1 billion.

“This agreement is a significant step forward in addressing Jo-Ann's capital structure needs, and it will provide us with the financial resources and flexibility necessary to continue to deliver best-in-class product assortments and enhance the customer experience wherever they are shopping with us."

Scott Sekella, Jo-Ann CFO
Scott Sekella, Joann CFO

Additionally, after the company's Chapter 11 process is complete it will be taken off the Nasdaq and will become privately owned, which could happen as early as April.

As more consumers shift to online retailers like Amazon to buy their art supplies, master sewist Paulette Morrissey, who also owns Tulip Square Patterns in Punta Gorda, says specialty fabric stores like Jo-Ann still have value beyond what Amazon and the like can bring.

"They have a lot of patterns and sewing supplies like the rulers and the needles and the sewing pins and that kind of stuff," said Morrissey. "It'd be a shame if they closed."