Canner's Fabrics and Yarns, in the Stop 'N Shop shopping center on Forest Ave., is closing its doors, which have been open since 1923. The Canner family and customers alike mourned the recent passing of Bernard Canner.
The signs of the times have become alarmingly too familiar to one particular family-run business in Glen Cove. One of the longest running businesses in the area, Canner's Fabrics and Yarns, is closing the doors that have been open since 1923. Bins that were once stuffed with soft colorful yarns to later be turned into baby blankets and lovingly hand-knitted scarves are now vacant. The last bolts of fabric to be transformed into quilts or garments are being sold out during the final days of the shop's legacy.
Susan Cornell and Robin Dando (nee Canner), two sisters from a family of five, have been helping their family in the business since they were each 10 years old. Their grandfather, a Polish immigrant, opened a shop in Glen Cove, which would later be taken over by his son, Bernard. Though the business has changed locations in Glen Cove three times in eight decades, the mission and integrity of Canner's Fabrics and Yarns has not. The sisters have many fond memories of helping their grandfather in the former Glen Street location where they assisted in ringing up customers on the old-fashioned cash register. During tough times, "[customers] would come in with vegetables from their garden or homemade foods and my grandparents were always willing to help them out," Robin recalled. "Many times customers would come in [today] and remember my grandparents." No one left Canner's without getting what he or she needed.
The business moved to its third location under Bernard Canner's ownership on Forest Avenue in the late 1970s. Susan and Robin began to assist their father, this time as adults, in the shop after he had injured himself nearly seven years ago. Sadly, Mr. Canner at age 90, passed away earlier this month. Fondly called "Bernie" by his customers, Robin commented, "He truly was the thread of this community." Due to the bleak economy and a significant decrease in domestic arts interest and activity, the sisters contemplated for the past few months the idea of closing the business. Several weeks ago, the decision was finalized to close at the end of January. The death of their father "...closed the book," as Susan pointed out. "His family and the store were his life."
The Canner family and customers alike mourned Bernard Canner, a beloved and mild-mannered man who was always seen smiling. With a clientele spanning three generations to include grandmothers, mothers and their children, Canner ran more than just a business. His shop was something that became a part of people's lives. While grandmothers were picking out a new knitting pattern, their grandchildren may have browsed the lanyard selection to make a new keychain by the poolside on a hot summer day. Mothers looking to spruce up their kids' old Halloween costumes would come for buttons and sparkly accents. "People would say, I should have come to Canner's first- I knew I'd find it here," Robin stated. Canner's fostered the kind of bonding that could exist between customer and merchant only in a friendly "Mom and Pop" store. Canner's hundreds of patrons were not limited just to the local area, but would come from all over for the quality customer service they felt that Canner's provided.
Longtime customer Fran Lawrence wrote to Canner's, "I always felt that I could get expert guidance through any project I attempted....At no time did I hesitate to come back to ask questions or request guidance on a project."
As the 21st century progresses, Canner's and many more longtime running family businesses may close, but the memories that they have created in the lives of others will be woven into the infinite tapestry of time.