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Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Unfortunately, the answer is no, LeeWards Creative Crafts is no longer in business. LeeWards was founded in Illinois in the 1940s. It was purchased in 1994 by Michael's and immediately ceased operations. It is deeply missed by many former customers who still treasure crafts made from their popular kits.
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November 8, 20041 found this helpful

Does anyone know if the craft store LeeWards is still in business? They closed their store in San Diego years ago but they had the best crafts. I'm looking for small hand loom type things because I don't know how to knit or crochet but I want to make something.

Thanks!

Joanne from San Diego CA

Editor's Note: LeeWards has not been in business since 1994 but many still fondly remember it. Please feel free to share your memories in the feedback below.

Answers

April 30, 201212 found this helpful
Best Answer

LeeWards is now Michaels. I am the daughter of the founder/CEO (and my uncle was the VP.) They started the company at a time when silk, for parachutes, was still in high demand, although the war was over. This allowed him to stay profitable, as he sold the silk to those who needed it (stockings) etc.

My dad started one of the first catalogue businesses in the country. I can still remember seeing his customer list on cards-like the old card catalogues in the library. He was one of the first who switched to computers and hired people to do punch cards.

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He was always thinking of the customer: before he allowed a "kit" to leave he had checked out the instructions with the line operators. If they didn't understand the instructions, it went back to the artist. It had to be accessible. My dad was the salesman; my uncle the day to day guy. My dad introduced silk flowers to the US. He made a connection in Hong Kong and brought the products into the US.

None of us wanted to run the business. It was sold to General Mills, which in time, devolved to Michaels. My father retired to Spain, my uncle to a place in Ill. Each of them mourned the loss of the business.

I worked there, at minmum wage through numerous vacations. I remember working to fill orders, and always wished that I had roller skates to get around. It was tiring. I miss it now but that is likely nostalgia.

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I am thrilled that someone remembers LeeWards. It was a great place. I only wish it were still in business.

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December 14, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm so glad to see so many remember Lee Wards. I also grew up with it. My Aunt Verna Lee "Mernie" Clark worked there and my family shopped there constantly. As I recall Mernie would design projects of various kinds then, once approved, would work with the engineers to break them down into kits. I learned how to do most crafts before I was 15 learning from my aunt. I would go across the street to her house after school and she was home from work, and she would let me play with scraps she had at home. I loved my trips to the Elgin IL store, walking the aisles, looking at all the parts and wondering what I might do with them. I craft of all kinds to this day and thank Mernie for her skill and time with me. Her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughters also craft. We have also sold some of our work. I hope to live up to her legacy and make her proud.

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October 1, 20090 found this helpful

Does anyone know if the craft store LeeWards is still in business? They closed their store in San Diego years ago but they had the best crafts. I'm looking for small hand loom type things because I don't know how to knit or crochet but I want to make something.

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Thanks!

Joanne from San Diego CA

Answers:

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

You might try Valucraft. I live in San Diego area too and there are a few of them. I think I have seen what you want. Try calling them to save a trip. (11/09/2004)

By Linda L.

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Hi. I'm on Long Island, NY and it seems any Lee Wards that we had did become Michael's Stores several years ago.
(11/09/2004)

By Roseanna

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Leewards closed in sept. of 1994, Michael's bought them out. I was a Leewards employee for almost 20 years.
I have never seen a craft store like that one since! (02/15/2005)

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I used to work at Lee Ward's corporate offices, and I remember that they began selling stores off to Michael's as early as 1992. It was sad, as we had shopped there since I could remember. (08/04/2005)

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By Anthony

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

No, I'm sorry to say that Lee Wards went out of business many years ago. Herrschners and Mary Maxim are pretty much your only catalog options (and Annie's Attic, of course, but they don't offer as much variety). Try http://www.herrschners.com or http://www.marymaxim.com for hand loom items. Good luck! (09/13/2005)

By Meme2kbb

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Looks like LeeWards was bought out by Micheal's in 1994. (01/17/2006)

By Jeanne

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

No, the company was acquired by Michael's Stores Inc, and took on the Michael's name. (03/01/2006)

By Nicole

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

You're right. Michael's is not a substitute for Lee Wards. But have you tried Hobby Lobby? A great store! They're not in the West yet, NM and East. They are really big in Texas. (10/27/2006)

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By Bobbie

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Try Herschners and Mary Maxim located in Port Huron. They can be found online and have catalogs. (01/01/2007)

By Noreen

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I don't believe they're still in business. About 3-4 years ago, they still had a store near Philadelphia, in Exton, PA, I believe. However, if you're still (3 years later) looking for a small hand loom, try Herrschner's in Stevens Point, WI. Web site is this: www.herrschners.com. (07/19/2007)

By Ann

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Every Christmas season, my mother, sister and I would each pick out a Lee Wards' craft Christmas ornament kit. We sat around the table piecing them together. It is a wonderful memory. I wish Lee Wards was still in business. (01/02/2008)

By Catie

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

There used to be a Lee Wards on route 22 in Monroeville east of Pittsburgh Pa. It has been closed for years. I used to teach knitting in Greensburg Pa. I used to drive to Lee Wards for supplies. I do not like Michael's, they do not compare. Joanne's is a little better. (03/13/2008)

By Jackie of Greensburg, Pa

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I agree with everyone that Lee Wards was a wonderful craft store and there is no current store to compare with it--including Hobby Lobby. For those of you looking for certain items / kits / etc., you might try looking for them on E-bay. I've had luck finding some things by other companies. Sounds as if there is a real need for a good craft store for someone wanting to open a successful business. (07/02/2008)

By Diane J. Downs

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Michael's doesn't hold a candle to Lee Wards, you would think if they purchased it, they would have kept it the way it was. You could find anything at Lee Wards, and the yarn assortment was beyond compare. I will miss them terribly! (07/24/2008)

By norlyn

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Lee Wards had the best quality, variety and prices. It is very difficult to find good crochet thread for table cloths, doilies, etc. The best alternative I have found is Herrschners on-line. Forget the stores. Lee Wards died when it was bought out by an investment group, which is par for the course. I really miss the Lee Wards Store. (08/11/2008)

By Dee

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I, too, am sorry to find LeeWards is gone. I suggest Annie's Attic for many crafts mentioned on this web site. Annie's Attic has yarn, tools, books, and other supplies, and, yes, kits for a variety of crafts. (09/07/2008)

By Katherine Kirk

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I too miss Lee Wards. They had such a nice variety of things that Michael's will never have. I loved making the ornaments with my kids. That was a good 25 years ago. I still have them hanging on my Christmas tree. I sure wish someone would get those ornament kits in. They were the best. I loved shopping there. I seldom go to Michael's. (10/23/2008)

By Maddie

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I'm not sure if anyone else answered the question, but LeeWards was purchased by Michael's in 1994. We all miss LeeWards and obviously, Michael's has not continued to hold the reputation that made all of us so fond of LeeWards. (10/30/2008)

By Vicki

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Was I ever disappointed to find this thread on the internet! I am just now getting back into crafts, and I absolutely loved Lee Wards. I am not especially fond of Michael's either. I also miss the Workbasket magazine too. Are there any magazines like that any more? (12/05/2008)

By sharon w.

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

I used to always go to Leewards. Have not found anything to compare to that store. But I have had some luck with MaryMaxims. It is a craft store in Port Huron Michigan. But they do have a catalog and you can browse and order on line. (12/19/2008)

By Marie

Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

Too bad Leewards is no longer around, I too loved it. Walmart has done away with most of their crafts and embroidery floss. Try Ben Franklin, they still have some stores and are on line, also there is an online craft store on ebay. Happy crafting, Lura from Ga. (01/21/2009)

By Lura

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