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Shop Local: Lady-K Stitches Storefront

HERMITAGE, Pa. – Peggy Nadine Katona hadn’t planned on going into the alterations business again, but she saw a need after she returned here to care for her mother.

The seamstress, who owns Lady-K Alterations & Tailoring, 1526 E. State St. in Hermitage, Pa., had operated another shop before moving to Ocean Pines, Md., in 2001. There she taught dance and choreography at a prep school, and she and her husband had a storefront that offered an art gallery, gourmet food and a gift shop.

When her parents fell ill, she shuttled between Maryland and Pennsylvania, eventually moving back to help her mother after her father died in 2013. Ever since, people kept asking whether she would open a storefront,

“I said, ‘No, I’m retired,’ ” she says.

Katona, whose mother died earlier this year and who herself suffered complications from an injury, eventually felt better and relented to “try this again because there’s a need for it.”

The nearest alterations shop is a chain store in Niles, and even dry cleaners aren’t doing much anymore. “They send people to me all the time,” she says.

Much has changed in the alterations business from the time Katona left it 15 years ago and when she opened her shop a few months ago.

“People aren’t dressing up as much,” she says. As a result, many items she gets for alterations are casual wear, such as jeans, although she still gets a lot of men’s sport coats. In addition, much of the clothing is “cheaply made” and unsuitable for alterations. “If a lady needs a dress let out,” she explains, “I can’t do it because there are no seams to let out.

Nevertheless, since she opened Lady-K, business has been “very good,” she reports. She estimates she works on 100 or so pieces per week.

And like her business in Maryland, the shop also sells locally created art, “everything from water colors and photography to sculpture,” she says, and she makes shawls and “book thongs,” or “bling for your books,” as she calls them.

Patronizing a local merchant keeps money in the local economy, she iterates. “Whatever money comes in here filters right back out into this community,” she says.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.