Making it as a seamstress

Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 1:47 p.m.
A Rockwell, N.C., native, who came to the Gainesville area with $6 in her pocket in 2002 to take care of her mother, has opened her own business in east Gainesville, and she is loving the support she is getting from the community.
"I came here to take care of my mother who had broken her arm, and I didn't know what I was going to do, but I found a job at a local alteration shop and worked there for four years," said Deloris Fraley, owner of Alterations by Deloris at 115 NE 16th Ave., just east of the new Kangaroo convenience store on N. Main Street.
Fraley said she learned how to sew when she took a home economics class in the ninth-grade. She said she put her skills to work when she got married.
"I made all of my clothes and all of my sons' clothes," said Fraley, who has two sons, Christopher, 31, and Patrick, 16.
Fraley said she worked at a cotton mill for 11 years before deciding to quit and go into business for herself.
"I closed in my carport, quit my job, and started sewing for people in the community," Fraley said. "I did that for 20 years."
She said when she moved here she saw an advertisement in the paper about a shop needing a seamstress. She said she talked to the shop's owners on Tuesday and went to work on Wednesday.
She said she and her boyfriend, Mack Kelly, had been talking about her going into business for herself, and they had been eyeing her current location for some time.
"We kept riding by this place, and thought we could make something out of this," she said, adding that the business opened on Jan. 23, after months of renovations. "My boyfriend suggested that I do this for myself. If it wasn't for him, I couldn't have done this. I give him all of the credit.
"I was terrified to go into business for myself. Just having to worry about overhead and Uncle Sam, that's a lot to worry about. Just the thought of being on my own scared me. Making enough money to pay the bills scared me the most."
She might not have to worry about that for long because a lot of people know her work, they will just have to find out where she is now. One customer found her with the help of a friend.
"I'm trying to get my wedding dress fixed," said Dinorah Ortiz, who is getting married in May. "My friend, Catalina, told me that Deloris had fixed a dress for her before, and that she does awesome work."
Catalina Guzman, 22, Ortiz's friend, said Fraley altered a bridesmaid dress of hers that was too small.
"I had a size four bridesmaid dress that I had to get into, and I was seven months pregnant," Guzman said. "She made it fit me. She did a really good job on my dress. You couldn't even tell it was altered."
Fraley said she thought it would take her a few weeks to attract customers, but she said to her surprise, customers have been coming daily.
"People who live around here watched us tear this place up and down, and they said to me, 'We were waiting for you to open up,' " Fraley said. "I've been pleasantly surprised with the number of customers I have had since I opened up. I thought it would be a couple of weeks before I got a customer."
Fraley said she is glad her boyfriend talked her into going into business for herself.
"If you want something, you have to put forth the effort to get it," Fraley said. "Nobody is going to give you anything. I believe things happen for a reason. I think this is going to be a great location."
Hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is (352) 395-6633 or (352) 281-6109.

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