Fabric stores close as Garment District continue decades-long decline

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan — The family-run Paron Fabrics has been in business for 76 years, but like two other fabric stores on the block of W. 39th Street, it will be closing due to rising rents and landlords who would rather have their tenants serving up craft beers than bolts of fabric.

"We're losing the heart of New York with all these mom-and-pop stores closing," Amy Nurtig, a Paron Fabrics customer, told PIX11 News.

"There are going to be no garments in the garment district," Paron's owner Mark Lynn said. "I've had customers in here crying in total disbelief."

It's been a decades-long decline of the Garment Center as detailed in the 2007 HBO documentary "Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags."

There's even an advocacy group, "Save The Garment Center," which is almost 10 years old.

"We've delayed the process of losing the garment center," Samant Cortes, co-founder of Save The Garment Center, told PIX11 News, "by making a lot of noise."

But one Garment Center business isn't going anywhere without a fight.

Paul Cavazza is president of Create a Market, a thriving company that grades patterns for 150 designers in a 10th floor factory on west 35th street. He said the fashion industry needs workers to create these markers right in the heart of the fashion world, in the West 30s of Manhattan.

"I plan to be here a long time," Paul Cavazza said.

And the secret to his success?

"Always change business to times," he said.