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Owner of Tucson fabric staple celebrates 94th birthday

Owner is dedicated to customers and still works at store
Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 01:34:42-04

Claire Grunstein has been running her fabric store Fabrics that Go at 3105 N. Campbell Avenue in Tucson for more than 40 years but July 12th is an extra special day. Grunstein turned 94-years-old and still spends her days working and walking through her 13,000 square foot store.

"It's very special because I've never had so many friends in my life as I do now. I've talked to millions of customers from coast to coast. A lot of them end up being my friends and I see them socially and I have a list with about 1,000 phone numbers of people,” Grunstein said.

Grunstein also makes it a point to know her customers by name.

“People come in and say is this a fabric museum? I think we’re one of a kind.” Grunstein said.

Grunstein and her husband Herman moved from New Jersey and opened the Tucson staple back in 1978. She lost her husband 5 years ago when he was 93-years-old and continued to carry on their dream of keeping the doors of their store open.

“We came here to retire we came here and fell in love with Tucson. We put our heart and soul into it. It wasn’t enough that we worked 100 hours a week we would take the work home. Our dining room table was always full of fabric,” Grunstein said.

Grunstein is also active in the community, she donates to local charities who need it on a regular basis. Employees Jean Closs-Ames and Elaine Hamms say their boss is full of life and energy.

"She’s dynamic she always has something to say about your project some helpful tidbit that someone didn’t think about,” Closs-Ames said

“She does like to some and sort the buttons because she has a collection that's world famous,” Hamm said.

Out of the thousands of fabrics in the store it turns out the most popular fabric is one Grunstein created herself along with other inventions and clothing. While times are continuing to change one thing stays the same.

"I look forward to coming every day and meeting new people it's such an experience learning from my customers. It's my passion, I love what I do and I don’t feel like its work you know it’s just wonderful everybody is a friend,” Grunstein said.