NEWTOWN, Conn. -- In 1957, at a time when most women were homemakers, Louise Gardner was an entrepreneur and business owner. And she opened Chintz-N-Prints on South Main Street in Newtown to help those women make their homes beautiful.
While many businesses in the area have opened and closed since that time, Chintz-N-Prints has survived — and thrived — and will soon be celebrating its 60th anniversary.
The 7,000-square-foot business sells fabric for draperies, slipcovers, upholstery and pillows, and foam rubber for seat cushions. The store also sells sunbrella, an outdoor resistant material.
Gardner's son David took over the business in 1979, and David's daughter Laura took it over from him in 2001. She looks forward to coming into work each day.
"It's all about the people," Laura Gardner said. "I love making connections and meeting others who are as passionate about fabrics as I am."
But Gardner said the store's biggest competition is now the Internet. But she highly recommends that people shopping for fabric to go to a physical location. "In a store, you can touch the fabrics and look through sample books," she said.
Store manager Ivy Chirco of Newtown said many people are intimidated by interior design because they aren't sure where to start. "Here, we work as interior designers every day. That's a free service that we provide to our customers," she said.
Customers bring in pillows, tiles, paint chips and wallpaper from their homes. "We help them find fabrics to coordinate in their room. This kind of service you can't get over the Internet," added Chirco, who has a bachelor of fine arts degree in fashion design from Academy of Art University in California.
"We encourage people to take home samples and rolls of fabric," Chirco said. "We do this because colors may change in different lighting. In fluorescent light, some colors such as neutrals may look more red or yellow when you look at them in your home."
According to Chirco, the color gray is currently popular in interior fabrics. "This came from the insurgence of the shabby chic look, which is all white. So, the transition was into bringing in grays as a neutral," she explained.
Chirco added that for the summer, aqua is also an "in" color. "It's a cool color. It adds serenity and calm."
According to Gardner, back in the '90s, actor Paul Newman often came into the store with his wife, actress Joanne Woodward. "They would shop for fabrics for their house in Westport," said Gardner, 36, of Newtown.
Chintz-N-Prints is located at 39 S. Main St. in Newtown. For more information, call 203-364-5333 or click here.