Albita’s Tailoring Shop a childhood dream come true for owner

  • Owner Alba Dolly Agudelo sets to work on her sewing machine at the newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Owner Alba Dolly Agudelo sets to work on her sewing machine at the newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Owner Alba Dolly Agudelo sets to work on her sewing machine at the newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Partners of the newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop, Alba Dolly Agudelo, right, and Antonio Galindo at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Partners of the newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop, Alba Dolly Agudelo, right, and Antonio Galindo at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Owner Alba Dolly Agudelo sets to work on her sewing machine at the newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The newly opened Albita’s Tailoring Shop at 205 Main St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 11/7/2019 5:24:09 PM
Modified: 11/7/2019 5:23:58 PM

Editor’s Note: The majority of the interviews were conducted in Spanish and quotes were translated into English by the reporter, who is bilingual.

GREENFIELD — As a young girl in Medellín, Colombia, Alba Dolly Agudelo watched as one of her older sisters hand-stitched doll clothes. Crafting doll fashion caught Agudelo’s eye and, at 12 years old, she was designing and sewing her own doll clothes.

What Agudelo didn’t know at the time was that this experience would spark a decades-long career in fashion and tailoring, which would lead her to open her own tailoring shop.

Wednesday marked the grand opening of Albita’s Tailoring Shop at 205 Main St., the third phase of Agudelo’s career and first as a business owner.

“I’m so happy,” Agudelo said of having her dream come true.

By Wednesday afternoon, a number of customers had already passed by, dropping off pants and shirts. One customer brought by a pair of shorts with a broken hem — good planning, Agudelo later said, to bring in summer clothes when you don’t use them.

Agudelo’s advice echoes that of Marie Kondo, a Japanese woman whose method of tidying up sparked a national craze earlier this year: Get to know your local tailor.

“Many people have clothes stored away that don’t fit them quite right,” Agudelo said. “(Alterations) allow people to return (to their closets) and wear their clothes.”

Currently, the store offers services like alterations, resizing, hemming and fixing zippers for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, formal and informal.

“In the near future, we want to offer custom-made clothing,” Agudelo said.

The threads that lead Agudelo to opening her own store began in Colombia.

At 12, Agudelo began hand-stitching clothing, and at 14, she began using the family’s sewing machine.

“(Sewing) gave life to clothing. I fell in love with clothing and with the sewing machine,” she said.

Three years later, Agudelo began working as the right-hand tailor to a clothing designer in a factory that produced all types of women’s clothing for export, she said. The last eight of those 20 years, Agudelo was the quality control supervisor.

Agudelo worked in shoewear for nine years before moving to Boston in 2018, where she worked making formal menswear jackets. In a visit to see her sister in Greenfield, Agudelo felt the Western Massachusetts charm.

“It struck me as a marvelous town,” she said, adding that although she had always preferred cities, she was struck by the life that Greenfield has.

Agudelo, along with her partner, Antonio “Tony” Galindo, began thinking about moving to Greenfield and opening up a tailor shop.

Agudelo’s sister, María Zoraida Agudelo — who goes by Zoraida — has lived in Greenfield since 1996. Two months ago, Zoraida Agudelo noticed the “For Lease” sign on the storefront at 205 Main St. and called her sister. On Oct. 1, Galindo signed the lease.

Although the previous tenant was a tailor as well, the two couples — Alba Agudelo and Galindo, Zoraida Agudelo and her husband, Luis Martinez — worked to make the space their own.

Martinez said they painted the walls a terra cotta color, built a fitting room, tiled the bathroom and updated the lighting.

“We are a united team and we did all of this with a lot of effort and lots of love,” Zoraida Agudelo said.

For Alba Agudelo, a source of her motivation and support — both emotional and economic — came from her partner, Galindo.

“He motivated me. He kept telling me, ‘You can do it. You are capable,’” Alba Agudelo said, with a smile on her face.

For Galindo, Wednesday’s opening was a moment to be appreciated.

“I’m very thankful to God ... for giving us this space and for giving us this opportunity,” Galindo said. He added that the support of friends and family, especially Zoraida Agudelo and Martinez, was instrumental.

With the doors to her dream open, Alba Agudelo has no plans to slow down. She said her next goal is to improve her English. Wednesday’s customers were respectful and calmly worked through the language barrier, Alba Agudelo said, adding that she was impressed by how many people know a few words in Spanish.

Galindo, Martinez and Zoraida Agudelo will be in the shop intermittently, providing translations as necessary.

As Zoraida Agudelo reflected on her sister’s journey — from working in Colombia to being the third of their 12 siblings to move to the U.S. — a note of pride rang out in her voice.

“For her to be able to come here and open her own business — to fulfill that dream she has is really amazing,” Zoraida Agudelo said.

Albita’s Tailoring Shop serves walk-ins and appointments, which can be made in-person or by phone at 413-362-6572. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Reach Maureen O’Reilly at moreilly@recorder.com or at 413-772-0261, ext. 280.


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