MT. LEBANON (KDKA) – A local mom and pop shop is working hard to take care of first responders during the pandemic.
However, when the virus outbreak first happened the little sewing shop wasn’t sure it could take care of itself.
The Sewing Studios in Mt. Lebanon survived 9/11 and recessions but owner Gloria Horn never thought they’d survive the pandemic. She was getting ready to close after the non-essential business shutdown.
“Here I am a sole proprietor, no money is coming in,” said Gloria Horn, owner of the Sewing Studios.
She told her employees to file for unemployment but just as she was about to close, a Doctor with a broken N-95 mask walked in the door.
“She asked us to quickly repair the elastic because she was going to do the drive-by testing,” the seamstress said.
And the doctor explained the need for masks to be made quickly for first responders.
“She told us exactly what she thought we should do quality quilters cotton on one side, flannel on the other,” Horn said.
So Gloria filed for a Governor’s exemption and got it.
After 37 years, the Castle Boulevard shop went from surviving to thriving. Horn asked her staff and customer base if they would help with money for supplies so she could donate masks to health care workers and police.
Horn explained their loyal customer base is, “They are actually buying the kits and then making them, and then bringing them back here for us to distribute.”
Gloria’s invisible workforce of customers sews the kits with love and then delivers them assembled back to her shop. She has made 7,000 so far and counting.
“It was inspiring to my customers that they were helping,” Horn said and “Our slogan now is ‘sew like the wind.’”
Gloria Horn isn’t taking any profits from the assembly of the masks. Donations help keep the shop open with a full volunteer workforce.
The Sewing Studios has also increased their online presence since the outbreak and the seamstress goes live on Facebook every afternoon at 1.
She says everyone wants to see what they are doing to help others.