Where can you find the fabric store on Ambergris Cay?
Look for an orange door, on Back Street (also called Angel Coral Street), across the street from Caye Supplies, slightly toward Buccaneer Street, in San Pedro. Back Street is to the west of Middle street, on the side of the island toward mainland Belize.
They ordered a sign not too long ago, but the sign-maker did not follow through. They have ordered another. For now, there is a white board on the door to the right of the entrance that has Le Clarice written on it.
Now, the maps on the internet and our fun little fabric store’s Facebook page (Le Clarice Textile & Fabric Shoppee) have some other exotic sounding names, instead of Back, Middle, and Front streets; but every local we talked to used these more basic names. Plus, street signs were either non-existent or very difficult to spot, so directions were more by landmarks and proximity to water.
There is a one-way grid in that part of town, but the only way I could tell was by the direction everyone was driving. This was not always a clear indication, as the parking along most of the city’s very narrow streets turned them into one-lane streets.
What will you find in the Le Clarice fabric store?
Le Clarice is run by a mother and daughter team. I could kick myself for not taking a better photo of them, but I didn’t put my reading glasses on to check it. Lesson learned. They were very friendly and professional.
The mother opened the fabric store 16 years ago as one teeny-tiny shop in the same location. It’s original floor space was roughly 6 foot by 8 foot, or the size of a large bathroom in a typical American home. From there she has expanded to fill 3 more rooms, both of which are noticeably larger than the first.
She has the practical business model of stocking the fabrics that her customers want and/or ask for. This includes a variety of fabrics that she gets from around the world. There are fabrics for sewing bed linens, for sewing clothing, and some that were heavier home decorator fabrics. I bought some summer dress weight cotton, a heavy brocade to make a bag, a leopard print that I might use to line the bag, some very soft cotton-blend for some pillow cases, and a knit that reminds me of the ocean.
Everything in the fabric store is packed tightly, but a little digging turned up many good options. I was limited to what would fit in my suitcase to get home. Amazingly, it weighed exactly 50 pounds according to the airline’s check-in scale!
What else they do there
They said they will do alterations there in the shop. Although they speak English fluently, they used the term “fixtures” for alterations, which includes things like hemming. But they don’t take on big projects, because they are running the shop all by themselves.
They are also taking care of an new, adorable little puppy. It was two months old at the time of my visit and still didn’t know to avoid the feet of customers. I felt so bad when I accidentally stepped on it once. But it forgave me and I pet it some while they cut my fabric.
One thing I was particularly looking for was the colorful fabric that I saw sewn into things like kids backpacks and table runners. These were for sale by beach vendors and at roadside stands. There was not any of this at the fabric store, or I would have purchased it. When I do an internet search for Mayan fabric, many beautiful things show up that remind me of what I saw. Maybe I can order some on amazon…?
In short, this is not a tourist shop. If you want to visit a fabric shop that the local residents shop at and buy for every day living, this is it. I thought it was well worth the trip.