How it all got started
Fabrics and Home, a company built on the extraordinary dedication of its’ founder, Lester Peter Thur and his family. This story began in 1953, when Lester Thur returned home after serving three years in the Korean War. Upon his return home, Lester’s father, Harry Thur, made a common request to Lester that many parent’s make to their children when they are young adults, “Please go out and get a job”. Although not as poetic a beginning to most success stories, read on, the rest of this story will truly inspire.
With $900 in his pocket, Lester went into business with a 64 year old man named John Hershel. This partnership’s first deal involved purchasing a zipper job-lot that Lester found for $200.00. As partners, Lester and John spilt the cost. After several phone calls, Lester sold the zippers for $400.00. As partners, Lester and John split the profit. When Lester gave John $100.00 of the profit, he decided that having a partner was not for him. “Give away half my profit, I couldn’t do it again!”, he stated. Lester ended the partnership, and on that day in 1954, L.P. Thur Fabrics Inc. was born.
The story of the self-made man continued, as he grew stronger with each business decision he made. After a couple of starter locations; a loft on 6th Avenue, and a small retail store at 150 West 17th Street, Lester’s business grew large enough that In 1960, he moved to a 2000 square foot retail space at 126 West 23 Street. At this location, Lester refined the art of “flipping job-lots”. He bought fabric end cuts, seconds, trims and notions from large designer clothing manufacturers and sold to smaller ones. Lester recalls,” I sold enough of each job-lot to cover the cost of the lot and the rest of it; I sold to my retail customers. “I made my own business model, one that works!”
Customers from all over New York City knew where to come to buy that hard to find button, fabric or trim. The store became a New York City landmark, a must-see for the theatrical trade, fashion design, costume maker and fashion college student. The same friendly faces were always present, Harry Torres, Anthony Gonzales, Joyce Hunter, Joe Rodriguez, and Smitty! The years of loyalty from these employees’ will always be remembered as an integral part of the success of this company.
Lester’s daughters, Lorie Thur Katz and Ellen Thur joined the family business while Lester began his retirement. Although Ellen only worked for a brief time period, her style and energy was a major contribution in the wholesale apparel trade.
Jeff Katz joined Lorie; together they created a major change in the direction of the already existing business model and shifted towards home decor fabrics, which followed the natural trend in the fabric trade during this time period. Many small designer clothing manufacturers started manufacturing garments overseas and were leaving the New York City area. The apparel fabric trade was becoming obsolete, slowly and conceptually, Fabrics and Home started coming to life.
Fabrics and Home was born. The store began selling home decorative fabrics, custom window treatments, bedding and furniture to savvy New York City customer. A showroom was built within the retail space to capture this market. This showroom was packed with designer fabric books, furniture pieces, wallpaper, trimming as well as various custom window treatments, bedding and pillow samples created to showcase our workmanship. Within a couple of weeks, the new showroom was packed with customers that wanted custom made products for residential, as well as commercial spaces in Manhattan. The new business model was simple, beautiful crafted custom made work using upscale designer fabrics at a reasonable price. The store sold home decorative fabrics, custom window treatments, bedding and furniture to our New York City customers. Fabrics and Home used, and still uses the same workrooms as the upscale expensive interior designers. This business model continues to be the underlining reason for our continued success.
While remaining in New York City, Fabrics and Home launched one of the first online interior design companies, www.fabricsandhome.com. Our customers were able to gain access to designer décor which includes; designer brand fabrics, wallcovering, drapery hardware, trim, custom window treatments, bedding and furniture. Customers around the country were able to shop our site and get designer at a fraction of the cost, AND with-out the cost of interior designer fees. We also adapted a new decorating service that offered some of our interior design services in any state.
We left New York City and currently operate our online business on Long Island in New York. Our personal approach, distinctive artistic vision and attention to detail ensure a successful project that will meet the need and goal of each client. We welcome your confidence in us!
Fabrics and Home gives their first F & H Cares donation to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Lorie Thur Katz, the daughter of F&H’s founder, works with children with disabilities and hopes to widen her impact on these children with annual donations. Fabrics and Home gives 25 cents per yard for each yard of fabric sold on their website. All of the nonprofit organizations we choose work hard every day to raise awareness for children with disabilities