NEW YORK – Mendel Goldberg Fabrics is a room full of color, vibrant hues forming patterns and prints from floor to ceiling.
The business’s proprietor Alice Goldberg specializes in high-end couture fabrics, sourcing silk, tulle, and lace from Italy, Switzerland, and France.
“I only want the best because the best is always good enough,” she said.
For Alice, the store is a family tradition, bearing the name of her great-grandfather, a Polish immigrant. Upon his arrival in New York in the late 19th century, he began selling tailoring supplies from a pushcart.
The cart evolved into a brick-and-mortar shop with the purchase of the Hester Street building, which has remained in the Goldberg family for generations.
“I grew up in this business from the time I was a child,” Alice said.
Her fabrics are sold by the yard to become suits, dresses, curtains, and pillows.
“We work with the Broadway shows. We work with the Met,” she said.
Some visitors buy materials for at-home sewing projects, while others get fitted for custom clothing.
“We do a lot for bridal, and we have excellent seamstresses that make up the garment at different price points,” Alice said. “There is a fabric for every client. I believe now that we can hit almost any budget.”
For Alice, the most important part of the job is the respect and regard for all customers.
“That’s what my father taught me. You never judge a customer. Everybody gets treated the same,” she said.
Her staff includes Louis Ortega, an honorary member of the Goldberg family after 32 years on the job, and her daughter Josie, the fifth generation to pursue the family trade.
For Alice’s grandchildren—several of whom are named after their predecessors—the history of the shop inspires school essays and art projects. Fabrics from the family store have become custom-made dresses for their bat mitzvahs.
“I walk in here every day, and I feel the legacy of my family,” Alice said.
Mendel Goldberg Fabrics
72 Hester St
New York, NY 10002